Judges handling cases in the Sh9 billion National Youth Service (NYS) fraud will not drag their feet in serving justice, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu has assured.
Justice Mwilu on Sunday reiterated the Judiciary's commitment to speedy dispensation of justice on the cases while seeking cooperation from those handling the suspects to make that happen.
Deflecting fears that the cases could be delayed, the DCJ noted that judges were not blind to an expectation to timely deal with the cases.
“Judges and magistrates should be alert to delay tactics and other technicalities that lawyers in these cases are likely to introduce and steer clear of them,” said Ms Mwilu.
She was addressing reporters after a Sunday service at St Patrick's Kyamatheka Catholic Church in Makueni County where she laid a foundation stone for a new church block.
She was accompanied by Makueni Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau and Kaiti MP Joshua Kimilu.
Terming the judiciary as Kenyans’ last hope in slaying the graft dragon, speakers at the event called on the Judiciary to act.
More than 20 State officials and traders were charged last Tuesday with defrauding the NYS of at least Sh400 million in questionable deals.
The suspects -- who had been rounded up a day before -- were detained pending bail determination on Tuesday this week.
Those expected at Milimani High Court for a ruling on whether they should be freed on bond include Ms Lilian Omollo, the Principal Secretary at the Youth Affairs ministry, NYS director-general Richard Ndubai and Ms Ann Wambui Ngirita, a Nakuru trader whose companies is among those implicated in the fraud.
Throughout last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta led the political class in admonishing those implicated in the fraudulent dealings at the youth agency and other government departments and agencies
“Those who steal public money must carry their own crosses,” said the president during Madaraka Day celebrations, recapping sustained anger among Kenyans following the shocking revelations that the country could have lost at least Sh9 billion in questionable dealings.
Justice Mwilu said judges will be guided partly by the prevailing public mood in the country to expedite the cases.
“Although the law does not provide the maximum time frame within which criminal cases should be tried as is the case with election petitions, I don’t think there is any Judiciary official who is blind to the prevailing mood in the country.
"We all need to fight corruption and the courts will play its role,” said Ms Mwilu.
She said this would not lead to a miscarriage of justice as there are sufficient mechanisms to insulate the cases from such.
She urged the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the police to build solid cases against the State officials with water-tight evidence.
The Judiciary vice-president extolled the importance of whistle-blowing in tackling crime waves such as the NYS heists.
Ms Mwilu, who heads the Judiciary Ombudsman, also urged the public to report corrupt judges and other Judiciary officials to her office.
“Once such complaints come to my office complete with supporting evidence, I will not be hesitating to forward such judicial officials to the Judicial Service Commission,” she said.