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Judiciary statement on drastic cut in budget allocations

maraga

Chief Justice David Maraga. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

STATEMENT ON THE STATE OF THE JUDICIARY IN LIGHT OF DRASTIC CUTS IN BUDGETARY ALLOCATIONS

As you are aware, the mandate of the Judiciary is derived from the people as expressed in Article 159(1) and (2) of the Constitution, which says “Judicial Authority is derived from the people and vests in, and shall be exercised by the courts and tribunals established by or under … [the] Constitution” and that “In exercising that authority the courts and tribunals shall be guided by” amongst other things the principle that “justice shall not be delayed”.

In the premises, the Judiciary is obliged to inform the public of anything that may affect service delivery.

We have called you here today to express our concerns regarding the drastic cuts in the Judiciary Budget, which could have a devastating effect on our work.

Background

During the budget-making process, the Judiciary requested a total of Sh31.2 billion from the Government to support its operations for the FY 2018/19. The Budgetary requirements were broken down as follows:

  • A recurrent budget of Sh19.8 billion

  • A development budget of Sh11.4 Billion (Comprising GoK funding of Sh8.5 billion and a World Bank loan of Sh2.9 billion).

  • The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) resource requirements were Sh891 million for the FY 2018/19.

 The National Government’s Budgetary Policy Statement capped the Judiciary’s budget at Sh17.3 billion. The ceiling was broken down as follows:

  • Recurrent expenditure: Sh3.3 billion

  • Development expenditure: Sh4 billion (Comprising GoK funding of Sh1.05 Billion and World Bank loan facility of Sh2.9 billion)

  • The JSC was given a ceiling Sh479.6 million.

However, when Parliament passed the Appropriation Act, the Judiciary’s total budget allocation was further reduced to Sh5 billion.

Out of this, the development budget from the government is only Sh50 Million, compared to Sh2.6 billion allocated to the Judiciary in the 2014/15 Financial Year.

Sh50 million is expected to cover new and ongoing projects, repairs and maintenance, as well as ICT infrastructure for the courts. We are at a loss over how to use this money.

The main consequence of these drastic cuts is that more than 70 court construction projects will, without doubt, stall. This is more so because the World Bank funding through which 29 of the projects are financed expires in December and there seems to be no willingness to extend it.

This is the anticipated impact of the budget reduction:

Stalling of 41 Government-funded projects which are currently at various stages of completion. These are:

On Going ProjectBalance Required to Complete (Ksh)

 

Homabay Law Courts 

 

315,656,988.46 

 

Kabarnet Law Courts 

 

314,720,107.60 

 

Marsabit Law Courts 

 

329,956,004.59 

 

Amagoro Law Courts 

 

118,283,060.18 

 

Githongo Law Courts 

 

100,187,120.80 

 

Kandara Law Courts 

 

121,669,728.78 

 

Machakos Law Courts 

 

22,846,555.00 

 

Marsabit Law Courts 

 

2,715,430.42 

 

Supreme court 

 

5,148,405.00 

 

Kiambu law courts 

 

841,745.00 

 

JSC offices 

 

10,086,912.50 

 

Mbita Law Courts 

 

103,087,638.43 

 

Habasweini Law Courts 

 

133,161,474.15 

 

Hamisi Law Courts 

 

293,483.00 

 

Embu Law Courts 

 

42,840,300.94 

 

Nkubu Law Courts 

 

2,627,715.50 

 

Muranga Law Courts 

 

22,728,978.18 

 

Mandera Law Courts 

 

16,866,054.14 

 

Narok Law Courts-Phase II 

 

44,026,528.40 

 

Butali Law Courts 

 

6,354,828.00 

 

Eldama Ravine Law Courts 

 

10,841,727.29 

 

Port Victoria Law Courts 

 

3,514,075.43 

 

Eldoret Law Courts 

 

7,416,745.50 

 

Othaya Law Courts 

 

28,612,950.00 

 

Wanguru Law Courts 

 

39,057,667.00 

 

Marimanti Law Courts 

 

37,312,676.00 

 

Bomet Law Courts 

 

31,325,974.00 

 

Garsen Law Courts 

 

9,717,059.15 

 

Runyenjes Law Courts 

 

12,309,376.65 

 

Tawa Law Courts 

 

12,109,377.19 

 

Mombasa Court of Appeal 

 

2,826,377.00 

 

Kitale Law Courts 

 

63,365.00 

 

Nyeri Court Of Appeal 

 

4,184,486.16 

 

Iten Law Courts 

 

1,685,310.00 

 

Mombasa Law Courts 

 

1,458,754.00 

 

Siaya Law Courts 

 

1,107,637.60 

 

Karatina Law Courts 

 

4,336,378.50 

 

Competitions Tribunal 

 

2,993,190.00 

 

Maseno Law Courts 

 

 

Standards Tribunal 

 

1,299,210.00 

 

Makadara Law Courts 

 

5,010,000.00 

 

TOTAL 

 

1,931,281,395.54 

The Government’s cut in the Judiciary Budget is made worse by the imminent expiry of the Judicial Performance Improvement Project (JPIP), the Sh11.5 billion World Bank loan facility through which many of the Judiciary projects have been funded.

JPIP became effective in April 2013 and is scheduled to end in December 2018, unless the Government agrees with the World Bank to extend the project period.

Of the Sh11.5 billion, the total amount disbursed so far is only Sh5.3 billion with a further Sh5.2 billion committed in ongoing works.

By December, it is estimated that Sh7.2 billion will have been disbursed and Sh4.3 billion unutilised. The repercussions for this are unimaginable, with a flood of incomplete projects across the country.

A 22 months extension period (till October 2020) would have allowed the completion of all the pending and planned activities and avoid unnecessary liabilities falling on the GoK budget. However the National Treasury has declined to grant the extension.

The 29 World Bank-funded projects that will be affected are as below:

Court construction projects funded by World Bank ,2014-2018
ProjectBalance required to complete
Kigumo Law Courts1,270,640.18
Chuka Law Courts6,915,102.00
Engineer Law Courts4,750,954.00
Vihiga Law Courts3,298,612.50
Nyando Law Courts815,268.00
Molo Law Courts2,492,755.00
Oyugis Law Courts795,634.00
Nyamira Law Courts11,553,110.50
Muhoroni Law Courts (Tamu)2,715,801.60
Nakuru Law Courts73,363,895.46
Siaya Law Courts134,363,883.70
Garissa Law Courts120,711,978.48
Makindu Law Courts6,613,441.02
Nanyuki Law Courts135,816,823.00
Kibera Law Courts46,649,534.18
Voi Law Courts248,363,178.49
Kapenguria Law Courts357,627,783.00
Maralal Law Courts321,616,716.80
Isiolo Law Court276,769,048.40
Kwale Law Courts334,676,832.00
Wajir Law Courts369,567,057.00
Ol-Kalou Law Courts371,773,698.15
Kakamega Law Courts349,856,335.40
Mukurweini Law Courts131,940,935.62
Mombasa Law Courts345,617,662.65
Makueni Law Courts350,112,762.10
Kangema Law Courts (Phase II)28,737,120.13
Kajiado Law Courts398,407,995.00
Kapsabet Law Courts400,000,000
TOTAL4,837,194,558.36

 The other effects of the budget cuts include:  

  • Suspension of Mobile Courts: The operations of more than 50 mobile courts across the country will stop.

  • Derailment of the case backlog clearance: The undertaking by the Chief Justice to ensure that all cases above 5 years old are cleared by December 2018 is now a mirage. This is because our backlog clearance strategy involves moving Judges and Magistrates from their stations to assist in areas with heavy backlogs during Service Weeks. With the current budget allocations this will no longer be possible.

  • ICT and modernisation of court systems: This initiative, which is part of the judicial reforms, is also now a mirage: None of our programmes can continue.

  • New Constructions: We had planned to start new constructions of the Court of Appeal premises at Upper Hill and Court complexes in Meru and Kisii. These are now out of question.

  • Judicial Service Commission: With its wide mandate, JSC had requested for Sh891 million but was allocated only Sh364 million. The JSC, thus, faces a serious crisis that could hamper its most critical operations.

Conclusion

The Judiciary exists not for its own sake but to serve the common person by ensuring the efficient administration of justice and facilitating smooth commercial interactions between business entities.

That is why, for example, reforms in the Judiciary have such a positive impact for Kenya in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking. There just can’t be a good enough reason to impede the work of the Judiciary through budgetary strangulation.

In short, we wish to inform the public that while we shall continue doing our best to deliver justice to Kenyans, judicial services will this year be severely affected as a result of the Budget cuts. Please bear with us.

Signed.

HON. JUSTICE DAVID K. MARAGA, EGH

CHAIRMAN

JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION