Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has said his office will soon issue a circular on traffic rules to all motorists.
“We are coming up with a booklet, which we shall give motorists so that if you are stopped by the roadside, at least you are aware of your rights. The police officers will also be furnished with the same so that nobody is duped,” he said.
Speaking yesterday during an impromptu visit to Kibera and Milimani Law Courts to ascertain whether the traffic fine guidelines he issued in June are being followed, the CJ also told court officials to ensure speedy determination of cases involving traffic offenders.
Dr Mutunga said it was wrong to keep such offenders for hours in courts and to treat them like common criminals.
“A Kenyan who accepts to appear in court for a traffic offence has refused to pay a bribe to police. It is wrong to keep such a person in court for over 10 hours for instance as he awaits determination of the case. Next time they will be tempted to give a bribe to avoid being inconvenienced at the traffic courts,” said the CJ.
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“I want these cases handled quickly because it is unfair to keep a traffic offender in court the whole day when they should be productive elsewhere,” he added.
In June, the CJ issued a circular meant to stem corruption in the handling of traffic offences on roads. The key directive was that no offenders would be locked up in police cells without first being granted an opportunity to pay the fine or raise cash bail.
Speaking at Milimani, Mutunga noted that majority of motorists who are brought before the courts for traffic offences are those who refuse to pay bribes, reiterating that they should not be kept in court for long.
The CJ, who toured the courts’ traffic registry and cells for traffic offenders, where he interacted with some of them, also reiterated the Government’s commitment to do away with traffic cartels and brokers, whom he noted are denying the Judiciary and the State revenue worth millions of shillings.
“We have to make sure that the unscrupulous people and powerful traffic cartels are dismantled if there is going to be justice in the courts. We will not just sit and watch as cartels deny the Judiciary millions of shillings in revenue as ‘fines’ that end up in individual pockets,” said Mutunga.
He added that they would work closely with the Office of Inspector General of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions to crack down on the cartels.
According to the circular, traffic courts are required to process fine payments in open courts.
And before an offender has been called to answer charges, the magistrate should ensure that any cash bail collected by a police officer is available in court.
“Once a suspected traffic offender has been cited, he or she shall be issued with a notification to attend court on a convenient date within seven days or court summons, whichever is applicable as per the resolutions passed by the National Council on the Administration of Justice,” read the circular in part. “The notice shall state clearly the charges preferred and also indicate the maximum penalty for each,” it adds.