Chief Justice David Maraga has defended independence of the Judiciary stating that it does not need authorisation of the Treasury to open the Judiciary Fund Account.
In response to a letter from Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge, Justice Maraga said unlike the case with other government entities, which require Treasury’s authorisation to open accounts, the Judiciary does not require such approval.
Dr Njoroge had directed the Judiciary to engage with the Treasury and the Controller of Budget as required by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
The Governor also advised Chief Registrar of Judiciary Anne Amadi to ensure that she was required to open and maintain the account, for effective management of the Fund.
He further said the CRJ should ensure that the procedures for opening, operating and closing of accounts for government entities at CBK are followed.
But the CJ wrote back stating that no cabinet secretary runs the affairs of the Judiciary or Parliament because they are independent constitutional institutions, created under Article 248 of the supreme law, which means they are independent state organs, separate from the national government.
Further, the CJ said the Judiciary has robust finance and accounts as well as audit directorates, which are “fully capacitated” both in terms of personnel and policy wherewithal.
“The people of Kenya, on whose behalf the Judiciary exercises judicial authority, are in desperate need of the operationalisation of the Judiciary Fund in order to realise the fruits of a financially independent judiciary,” he said.
He said financial autonomy is a critical aspect of judicial independence and “for it to effectively discharge its mandate, the Judiciary requires financial autonomy”.
“The Judiciary will be terribly weakened if it were left to the magnanimous discretion of any other arm of government against which it at times decides cases, as it should be and does, in critical matters,” he said.
Dr Njoroge had also written to Judiciary asking it to put in place clear mechanisms on budgeting, funding, expenditures, controls, monitoring, reporting and auditing of the account, to augment the requirements of the Judiciary Fund Regulations.