The Executive has pledged to support the Judiciary’s infrastructure requirements in efforts to ensure social transformation through access to justice.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i told a meeting chaired by Chief Justice Martha Koome that the government would share its facilities with the Judiciary to ensure timely delivery of Justice and to expand the doorways of justice available for the public.
“It’s embarrassing we are evicting the Judiciary Training Institute (JTI) as though they are not part of government,” he said in reference to the planned ejection of the JTI from government premises.
The CS said there was need to ensure judicial officers are properly housed in government facilities that lie idle in various parts of the country.
“From today, let’s work together to ensure judges are properly housed. Houses don’t belong to the Executive Arm of Government,” said CS Matiang’i as he committed to facilitate a government process to release houses in Nairobi, Kisumu, and Mombasa for use by Judges and Judicial Officers.
He emphasised that engagement “does not amount to compromise.”
Matiang´i was categorial that the Executive has no intention to encroach on the independence of Judiciary emphasising that all institutions must work closely to ensure justice is served to the Kenyan public.
He said the Interior Ministry has embarked on restructuring security services to the Judiciary. “We are giving unprecedented attention to the security backup for the Judiciary. We want all judicial officers to feel safe and well protected,” he said.
While he acknowledged the need for inter-government agencies to seek out-of-court solutions citing disagreements between County Governments and the National Government, he also urged courts to make decisions on matters that are pending, especially where conservatory orders have been issued.
“He informed the meeting that the government has projects worth Ksh186 billion tied up in cases before the courts. We are not seeking rulings in our favour, but at least make a decision,” he said pointing out that this would save the public resources.
CS Matiang’i further told the meeting that the Executive would endeavour to obey court orders.
According to Matiang’i, his ministry fully supports the reinstatement of instant fines for traffic offenders, a position backed by Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, which he said would be an instant game-changer and would reduce the case backlog in the courts.
In her remarks, Chief Justice Koome said the meeting of the NCAJ – the first since May 2019 – was crucial due to overlapping jurisdictions and shared responsibility in ensuring access to justice for all Kenyans.
She said her vision was to see an enhancement of collaboration and cooperation in the activities of the justice agencies to power her transformative social justice vision for Kenyans.
“This does not mean that our agencies are not independent; but it is out of the reality that it is only through coordination of our activities that we can attain efficiency and resolve systemic problems in the pursuit of our common goal of effective delivery of services to Kenyans.
On the fight against corruption, EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak asked the CJ to decentralize anti-corruption registries to the regions. He also committed to pursue ‘high impact’ corruptions cases that have the biggest effect on the economy.
AG Kihara Kariuki asked the CJ to appoint a appoint task force under the guidance of his office to formulate a Bill to make the NCAJ an independent institution.
On his part DPP Noordin Haji said his office was keen to see the conclusion of corruption cases.
He said there were currently 141 high profile cases pending before anti-corruption courts, with the oldest case having been in court for the past 14 years. He said there is need to have a joint team develop a Rapid Results Initiative for corruption cases.
The special council meeting of the NCAJ was attended by Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, Inspector General of the Police Mutyambai, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Executive Officer Mbarak.
Others at the meeting were Maureen Mbaka – CAS, Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth, Florence Omundi Deputy – Commissioner General for Prisons, Alice Ondieki – Executive Director, Witness Protection Agency, Mary Mbau – Director Probation and After Care and officials from the Judiciary led by Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi.