Vetting Board seeks extension of term
30 September 2013, 20:01
Nairobi - The Judges and Magistrates Vetting board will seek parliament’s approval to extend their term in office to enable them complete the vetting of the remaining magistrates and judges.
Speaking during the unveiling of the Board's Interim report on Monday in Nairobi, the Board chairman, Sharad Rao, said that the term of the board members will expire on December 31 and they are yet to vet 244 magistrates. They plat to write to the Parliamentary Committee on legal affairs to extend their term.
Sharad said that the board's operations had been faced with a lot of challenges among them being lack of funds for internal operations and acquiring of appropriate premises.
According to Sharad, the report covers the first phase of the process which involved judges of the Appeals court and the High Court and has since vetted 53 judges, 44 Principal Magistrates and 42 Resident Magistrates and hopes the board will be able to investigate complaints against and consider information received on Magistrates throughout the country.
Some of these judges, he added, serve in the most remote and rural parts in the country and the vetting must be done in order to restore confidence in the judiciary as per the board’s mandate.
“The board has functioned in a manner that was both fair and resolute. My hope is that the way the board has set about its work and the determinations have contributed towards restoring public confidence in the judiciary,” said Sharad.
The Board Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Reuben Chirchir, said that the report comes out at a time when the board has completed the vetting of all High Court and Court of Appeal Judges and has now embarked on magistrates and will release subsequent reports containing further information.
He said that the board’s efforts has increased efficiency in the courts whose cases are decided upon faster unlike before when there used to be lot of pending cases.
Attorney General Professor Githu Muigai, in a speech read on his behalf by Solicitor General Njee Muturi, said that the board has remarkably vetted the judges and has determined the suitability of judicial officers to continue serving in the judiciary, and some of the judges have faced the sack due to incompetence as well as corruption in the corridors of justice.
“Judicial officers must observe high morals and be of integrity to set a good example to their junior officers, who are the worst hit by corruption,” said Prof Muigai.
He added that he will also lobby for the extension of the board members' term to ensure that the vetting of all judges, magistrates, Court Clerks and other judicial officers is complete.
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