Chief Justice David Maraga is now apparently getting ready to fight Kenya’s dreaded dragon – corruption – and hopefully help President Uhuru Kenyatta to start filling up prison cells he has emptied for the purpose. Maraga has said corruption cases will be heard within two days of suspects being charged without room for adjournment.
Some corrupt fellows, the Chief Justice said, were using all manner of excuses, including being hospitalized, to delay cases. Of course, Kenyans know that every smooth faced, fat dripping thief of public funds certainly becomes a weakling, crippled by long standing diseases that now permanently send them to hospital – until cases are forgotten.
Maraga said he intends to gazette strict directions for the speedy hearing and conclusion of economic crime cases. He said he was in the final stages of reorganizing the anti-corruption and economic crimes division to implement the same measures.
The judiciary will not be a shelter for corruption, the Chief Justice said while launching the economic crimes division of Milimani law courts.
He said judges of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Court will be exempted from hearing other cases to ensure corruption matters are handled speedily.
“We therefore call for cooperation from all stakeholders as we deal with corruption and economic crime cases,” he said.
Among key stakeholders are the police, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The EACC has been particularly critical of the judiciary, blaming it for delays in finalizing corruption cases.
The commission says it has successfully prosecuted only three people in three years from the nearly 10,000 complaints it has received.
EACC says it distributed many of the 9,465 reports of corruption it received to other investigative agencies such as the National Police Service, the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Independent Police Oversight Authority.
In the last financial year the commission received some 2,108 reports on corruption involving different government departments.
Shs18 of Shs 100 Recovered
More than a half of the cases being investing, the Commission told Parliament, are related to County governments. Of the 47 County governments, 42 have cases which are being investigated.
The commissions Chief Executive Officer Halakhe Waqo said 910 suspects were already in court with most of the cases involving prominent people and large sums of money such as the National Youth Service where billions of shillings was stolen, Anglo-leasing and the Nairobi City County.
The commission says it has so far recovered Shs18 out of every 100 stolen from public funds. It has seized assets owned by corrupt individuals worth more than Shs700 million.
But the hope of Kenyans is pinned on the new Chief Justice as they watch to see whether he will remain strong in the fight against the vice.