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CJ vows to punish corrupt officers in court construction projects

26 March 2014, 09:08 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – The Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has warned that immediate legal action will be taken against Judiciary officers or assigned contractors involved in fraudulent acts in the ongoing court construction projects in the counties.

Mutunga said that as the Judiciary’s President, he cannot let public access to justice to be slowed down by a cartel inside or outside the legal institution for wastage of public resources.

He added that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is committed to fight corruption noting that the Commission will not allow financing of ghost projects.

“On this, the Judicial Service Commission and I are clear: the court construction and rehabilitation programme is not a feeding trough for the greedy. The faintest whiff of corruption, the slightest hint of fraud in procurement or even the cheeky inflation of costs will be dealt with decisively,” said Mutunga.

Mutunga noted that following both JSC and Parliament's inquiry on alleged exaggerated court construction costs, he has directed an immediate independent review of the expenditure to ascertain the costs incurred for the World Bank and Government funded projects.

He stated that the final analysis will verify and rationalize all construction costs noting that immediate action will be taken once the report is out, by punishing cthose implicated with fraud to misappropriate public funds.

“I expect that the Legislature, Executive, Independent Commissions, media and the public in whose name we act, will provide the necessary support. We either resolve as a country and its collective leadership that we are serious about dealing with graft or entertain the public with a phantom fight against corruption,” stated Mutunga.

The CJ said that the provision of adequate judicial facilities is the third pillar of the Judiciary Transformation Framework to enhance access to justice adding that courts exist to serve society by advancing the cause and the ends of justice.

“When I assumed office, I undertook to complete all the stalled court construction projects, as well as to initiate new ones. In fulfillment of that undertaking, the rehabilitation of Gatundu Law Courts has now been completed alongside those in Sirisia, Malindi, Busia and Migori. Come June this year, all the stalled court construction projects shall have been completed,” noted Mutunga.

He challenged all judicial officers that Judiciary transformation entails serving the public and not self-promotion or any other personal interest that would affect their constitutional mandate of delivering justice.

Mutunga was speaking at the official opening of the newly constructed Gatundu Law Courts in his courts tour to various counties where he appealed to the region’s local leaders to accord judicial officers and the staff the support, protection and respect they deserve in discharging their duties.

“Harassing and compromising judicial officers and staff not only undermine the broader institution of the rule of law but also cause the community to suffer. The leaders of this community would support our transformation by allocating land for bigger court houses and also for quarters for judicial officers,” stated CJ.

He remained optimistic that the Gatundu court will be able to effectively resolve about 10 000 cases filed annually because it has spacious courtrooms and chambers also equipped with more improved modern facilities.

He further said the old building will not go to waste since it has already been earmarked for renovation into a children’s court.

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