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Koome on a low start Treasury slashes Judiciary Budget again

NATIONAL
By Winfrey Owino | June 10th 2021

Chief Justice Martha Koome starts on a low as Treasury cuts Judiciary Budget. [File, Standard]

Chief Justice Martha Koome starts on a low after Treasury cuts down funds allocated to the Judiciary in the 2021/2022 Financial Year.

The Judiciary lost about Sh800m  in the Sh3.66tr Budget read in parliament on Thursday, June 10 by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani.

The law-implementing Arm of Government has been allocated Sh17.9b in the coming financial year, a marginal decline from Sh18.1b allocated in the 2020/2021 financial year.

This, even as the Executive and Legislature bag Sh1.946 trillion and Sh37.9 billion respectively in Kenya’s biggest budget in history. Counties have been allocated Sh370billion.

“Counties will receive an additional Sh7.5b from revenues and another Sh32.3b from partners. This means that counties will bag about Sh410billion as a way of showing the government’s commitment to supporting devolution,” Yatani said.

Last year, the Executive got the lion’s share of the budget (Sh1.83tr) with the Judiciary and Parliament getting Sh18.05b and Sh37.7b respectively.

The Judiciary had been allocated Sh18.8b in the 2019/2020 budget, indicating a series of slashed funds channelled to the Judiciary each Financial Year.

Other institutions involved in the enforcement of the law were allocated funds as follows: Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Sh3.2b, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Sh 3.3b Criminal Investigations Sh7.6b and the Office of the Auditor-General Sh5.9b.

Before his retirement, Chief Justice Emeritus David Maraga had expressed his frustrations at the helm of the Judiciary, citing inadequate funds to effectively sustain operations at the Judiciary.

“Financial autonomy is a critical aspect of judicial independence. For it to effectively discharge its mandate, the Judiciary requires not just adequate financial allocation but also real financial autonomy,” Maraga said.

“Currently, the Judiciary lacks both as only 47 per cent of its financial requests are funded and the Executive has failed to operationalise the Judiciary Fund,” he added.

The Judiciary's budget slash comes at a time when the institution has promoted 34 judges, meaning more resources is needed to sustain their pay.

The judiciary is also working to improve service delivery by reducing case backlogs and putting up modern structures.

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