President Uhuru Kenyatta has called upon the Judiciary in particular the JSC to reflect upon and correct any areas of weaknesses that are present in the Judiciary, as the war on graft takes a higher gear. Complaints have been rife about the Judiciary’s perceived lack of urgency in the war against corruption, evidenced by the manner in which cases are handled in Court, and it has been the prevailing discussion for a while. Speaking at the National Anti-Corruption Conference at the Bomas of Kenya, President Kenyatta said the Courts must cease the practice of using injunctions against investigations of corrupt activities, “Issuing these orders makes it easier for the mandarins of corruption to destroy evidence and intimidate witnesses,” he said.
The Judiciary had already come under fire during the conference, which brought together leaders from different sectors, including anti-graft proponents, and Chief Justice David Maraga came to its defense, saying blame games won’t win the war against corruption, and insisting Kenya is run according to the rule of law. However, President Kenyatta later highlighted that indeed cases are taking too long to reach their conclusions, citing the case of Mwea, where former President Mwai Kibaki had signed a loan with the Japanese government to revamp Mwea scheme and increase rice growing capacity, “That issue was in Court until late last year when the Japanese government threatened to withdraw the loan facility,” reveled the President, adding that getting it back on track will cost taxpayers an additional Kshs 7 billion. ‘the rule of law must mean to protect also the taxpayer from this kind of problem,” he affirmed.
President Kenyatta further revealed that there are programs with the World Bank, road projects, power projects which have stalled because of injunctions given by courts, and the people applying for these injunctions are the same people. “I think you have a problem my friend, it’s a problem you’ll have to deal with one way or another,” he said, addressing CJ Maraga.
During his address, CJ Maraga had faulted bloggers who are hell bent on attacking the Judiciary, but the Head of State said he must get sued to it, and that there was a time they wanted to pass a law to stop bloggers from insulting leaders, “It was taken to court and the court decided it was unconstitutional..so just like the rest of us get used to it,” he said, as the leaders and guests present burst into laughter.
He took a tough stance against corruption, saying that in the coming months we will see an increased repatriation of proceeds of crime held outside the country as well as extradition of suspects and the receipt of key evidence to support both local and international based cases.