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Judges yet to occupy Sh347m Nakuru courts six months later

By Daniel Chege | June 10th 2021

The new Nakuru Law Courts building was inaugurated six months ago, but is yet to be occupied. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

A three-storey court building that cost taxpayers Sh347 million in Nakuru County and opened six months ago has not been occupied.

This is despite the fact that the Judiciary has been putting together resources to enhance access to justice, and also observe social distancing; one of the measures put in place by the Ministry of Health to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Retired Chief Justice David Magara opened the building on December 4, last year.

“In the old court, a magistrate was stabbed because of no docks, suspects attempted to escape and other warring parties exchanged blows,” those were Mr Maraga's words when he officiated at the opening ceremony.

However the 20 courtrooms in the building are still lying idle, dampening chances for effective administration of justice.

Now lawyers are up in arms against the Judiciary, fearing the former Chief Justice may have been involved in a publicity stunt.

Law Society of Kenya Council Member Kipkoech Ngetich claimed that Maraga shifted focus from service delivery to the public and access to justice to engage in publicity and political rhetoric.

“Why would Maraga open a court without necessary infrastructure?” wondered Kipkoech.

It was billed as the more secure and user-friendly establishment that would be installed with modern communication gadgets for virtual court sessions.

“It was built with taxpayers' money, but failure to use it to date amounts to waste of money and resources,” said Philip Rotich, adding that the building could have come in handy when Covid-19 cases peaked. 

Some of the lawyers who spoke to The Standard yesterday said they wished the new court building could start operating because they preferred open court sessions.

"Most of the criminal and some of the civil cases require cross-examination of witnesses. This has not been the case in the recent past due to challenges posed by the coronavirus," said Rift Valley LSK chairperson Ochang Ajigo.

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