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Mutunga criticizes MPs for cutting Judiciary funding

27 March 2015, 18:37 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has accused the National Assembly of allocating inadequate funds to Judiciary making it hard for the judicial institution to perform its constitutional duties.

Mutunga said the under-funding has constrained the Judiciary in constructing enough courts in all counties for easier and faster access to judicial services by residents.

“The Judiciary has been traditionally underfunded, either out of willful neglect or tactical attempts to undermine its independence,” said Mutunga.

The CJ who presided over the official opening of the Kisumu Law Courts Complex insisted that the 2010 Constitution provides for funding to his institution by the government and warned the MPs that the budgetary allocation is not a favor.

“When we ask for more money to build courts, this is what your money does. This money is not a favor to be doled out to the Judiciary but it is a right of every taxpayer and citizen,” said Mutunga during the opening of the Kisumu Court.

He pleaded with the MPs to support the Judiciary’s initiative particularly by allocating more to the institution for construction of enough courts in their regions for the benefit of their constituents.

Mutunga’s plea comes only a month after the MPs threatened to cut its funding in the 2015 Supplementary Budget allocations and the money channeled to other government ministries such as the Land, Housing and Urban Development to take up the role of constructing courts for Judiciary.

The MPs issued the threat in response to the High Court’s ruling that declared the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which is managed by MPs, as illegal in line with the new Constitution.

However, the court had asked the MPs to review and enact the laws that led to the creation of CDF to ensure it is aligned to the Constitution within 12 months lest it be declared unlawful.

Despite Mutunga requesting for more money to the Judiciary, he affirmed and assured that he will not hesitate to take tough disciplinary action against any corrupt officer in his institution.

“Only last week, I held a meeting with Judiciary finance and procurement staff and over 500 of our suppliers on tackling graft in the institution. We are constantly evaluating the cost of construction to make it more efficient and deliver value of money,” said Mutunga.

The CJ challenged judicial officers to show gratitude to the public’s support in constructing modernized court facilities through fairness, openness and accountability in discharging their assigned obligations.

“The Judiciary will continue to position itself as a custodian of the Constitution, whether we are sitting under trees or in magnificent buildings such as one we are opening today. Our mission to protect the Constitution and promote the rule of law will remain unbending,” affirmed the CJ.

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