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Chief Justice yet to occupy Sh310million House, Committee told

NAIROBI
By Rawlings Otieno | February 21st 2019

Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi when she appeared before the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee on the budget at Parliament on Wednesday 20/02/19. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

The anti-graft agency needs more money to buy office space because the Integrity Centre building bought for Sh1.5 billion is not adequate for its large staff, a parliamentary committee has been told.

And the Judiciary disclosed that the house in Nairobi’s Runda area meant for the Chief Justice was unoccupied since it was bought for Sh310 million under controversial circumstances in 2013.

The Judiciary said it required Sh5.2 billion to efficiently complete its projects as well as the automation of the 700 courts countrywide.

Neither Chief Justice David Maraga nor his predecessor, Willy Mutunga, have lived in the palatial compound. Mr Maraga lives in his Karen home. Judiciary Chief Registrar Anne Amadi told the committee that the house has been lying idle because of a court case. The Judiciary said it would needed resources to refurbish the house.

Integrity Centre, the building that houses the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), was acquired by the National Land Commission for Sh1.5 billion from the owners who bought it at Sh400 million. The deal raised questions on whether the taxpayer got value for money in a case that could end up with the hunter becoming the hunted. While appearing before the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chaired by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo, anti-graft boss Twalib Mbarak told the lawmakers that the office space was not sufficient to accommodate the number of staff it currently has.

“The office space we have is very limited and cannot accommodate the entire staff. I will invite you one day to come and see for yourself,” Mr Mbarak said.

He also said that the cash-strapped EACC would not do much if resource allocation was not increased in the 2019-2020 financial year.

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He asked for more resources to open new offices in the counties to cut the cost of conducting operations. “We asked for Sh3.5 billion but were given Sh2.9 billion. It is very expensive to have staff moving from Nairobi to conduct raids in far-flung areas. It will be economical to have offices at the county offices,” said Mbarak.

Appearing before the committee on the presentation of the Budget Policy Statement, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission complained about its pending bills amounting to Sh3.9 billion.

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