CJ Maraga downplays absence of Govt officials at the NCAJ meeting

Written By: Hunja Macharia

Chief Justice David Maraga has downplayed the absence of key Government officials during the National Council on Administration of Justice (NCAJ) meeting.

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Senior Government officers among them a Cabinet Secretary who had been invited for the meeting failed to turn up, a fortnight after the CJ hit out at the Executive for interfering with the mandate of the Judiciary.

Maraga would himself leave the meeting after the opening ceremony even as he downplayed the absence of the senior Government officials saying those present had the capacity to deliberate and make conclusive agreements.

“I won’t go into the reasons as to why they failed to come but officers who are present are capable and we expect a very productive meeting,” he said.

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While making his remarks, Maraga said the Judiciary is keen to work with other stakeholders to make sure that the criminal justice system is efficient.

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“We shall automate the system of the anti-corruption courts so that we can monitor the stages and progress made in these graft cases,” he said.

He noted that the major challenge facing the Judiciary was backlog of cases even as the number of cases filed every day continues to rise.

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“To address the rising number of graft cases, we have increased the number of magistrates handling corruption cases from three to ten in Nairobi,” he said.

The CJ added that the Judiciary was fully behind the plea-bargain programme by the office of the DPP noting that this will help address the issue of cases backlog.

“We are in the process of opening courts in Kamiti and Shimo La Tewa prisons to deal with dangerous criminals like those charged with terrorism,” he said.

The Director of Assets Recovery Agency Muthoni Kimani said plans are underway to open a victims support office and also construct a new mental hospital since Mathare hospital is currently overstretched.

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She further hinted that the Government is working with the UK, Italy, Switzerland and the UAE so that proceeds of corruption hidden in their Countries can be returned to Kenya.

Commissioner General of Prisons Wycliffe Ogalo said congestion remains a major challenge across the penal institutions.

“We are committed to reforming inmates but currently we have an excess of over 23,900 inmates in our prisons against a limited man power and facility,” said Ogalo.



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