The Judiciary has a reason to smile after Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani announced it will now operate its own fund.
After years of fighting to have 25 per cent of the total Sh3.3 trillion budget, the Judiciary will now get at least Sh75 billion, which it will independently spend.
Yatani announced that the Judiciary fund will be fully operational from July 1, this year, ending the long wait for the Chief Justice Martha Koome-led institution
“The Judiciary Fund Act and Regulations have been enacted; two, the bank accounts for the fund have been opened at the Central Bank of Kenya; three, an appropriate budget for Judiciary in the financial year 2022-23 has been created; and, four, Ifmis has been enhanced to accommodate Judiciary Fund operations,” stated Yattani.
He continued: “This fund will be fully operational with effect from July 1, 2022.”
The fund will be administered by the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary.
Justice Koome’s predecessor, Justice David Maraga, had been battling to get the fund. Maraga asked to be given at least Sh75 billion, which is 25 per cent of the Sh3 trillion budget.
He even proposed that, the funding can be gradual, from 1.5 per cent. Maraga also projected that each county will have a court house in 10 years if Treasury allocates Judiciary Sh5 billion for development.
“Even though the Judiciary is an arm of government, it is not demanding much. Out of a budget of about Sh3 trillion, give us just 2.5 per cent and we will dispose of cases within two years of their filing. Give us a development vote of about Sh5 billion a year and we will construct courts all over the country in 10 years,” pleaded Maraga.
But the ground was different, he got half of the loaf- Sh47 billion to work with for the three years.
To construct the courts in 47 counties, Maraga got Sh50 million. Currently, there are 38 on-going court constructions, 17 of which are funded by the government and the rest through a World Bank loan facility that expires later this year.
While three court buildings were completed this year, none of them were from the GoK-funded list.
Maraga said then that, in some courts, people were listening to cases through the window, and that some court houses were archaic and dilapidated.