Judiciary fund set for launch in July


Ministry of National Treasury and Planning Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

Courts will finally start operating the Judiciary Fund in July a move that will end the tussle between the Executive and the Judiciary over its implementation.

Treasury Cabinet secretary Ukur Yatani said the necessary procedures for effecting the Fund, have been put in place.

Article 173 of the constitution established the fund, which will be administered by the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, to meet the courts’ administrative expenses.

The Judiciary Fund Act was passed in 2016 for the Judiciary to retain money that may accrue from investments, court fees and levies. The failure to implement the fund has been compelling the Judiciary to surrender cash collected every year from court fees and fines to the Treasury.

Its implementation has been delayed over the years due to a lack of an account and regulations to guide its operations.

In 2020, then Chief Justice David Maraga rebuffed calls by Central Bank of Kenya governor Patrick Njoroge to seek the Treasury approval to open the fund’s account. Dr Njoroge had then directed the Judiciary to engage with the Treasury and the Controller of Budget as required by the Public Finance Management Act.

Justice Maraga, however said no cabinet secretary runs the affairs of the Judiciary or Parliament because they are independent institutions.

Mr Yatani said yesterday that the Judiciary Fund Act and Regulations have been enacted and bank accounts for the Fund, opened at CBK. “…IFMIS has been enhanced to accommodate Judiciary Fund operations,” the CS said.

He said Fund will be fully operational with effect from July 1.

The Judiciary has been pleading for the operationalization of the Fund to fund its operations and be financially independent.

The former CJ had said financial autonomy is a critical aspect of judicial independence and “for it to effectively discharge its mandate, the Judiciary requires financial autonomy”.

Dr Njoroge had also written to Judiciary asking it to put in place mechanisms that provide clarity on matters to do with budgeting, funding, expenditures, controls, monitoring, reporting and auditing of the account, to augment the requirements of the Judiciary Fund Regulations.

But Justice Maraga said all the concerns raised by Dr Njoroge are adequately provided for under the constitution, the PFM Act and the Judiciary Fund Act. “We therefore, look forward to your facilitating the opening of the account without further delay,” Justice Maraga had said.