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.
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 Project
|Balance Required to Complete (Ksh)
Homabay Law Courts
Kabarnet Law Courts
Marsabit Law Courts
Amagoro Law Courts
Githongo Law Courts
Kandara Law Courts
Machakos Law Courts
Marsabit Law Courts
Kiambu law courts
Mbita Law Courts
Habasweini Law Courts
Hamisi Law Courts
Embu Law Courts
Nkubu Law Courts
Muranga Law Courts
Mandera Law Courts
Narok Law Courts-Phase II
Butali Law Courts
Eldama Ravine Law Courts
Port Victoria Law Courts
Eldoret Law Courts
Othaya Law Courts
Wanguru Law Courts
Marimanti Law Courts
Bomet Law Courts
Garsen Law Courts
Runyenjes Law Courts
Tawa Law Courts
Mombasa Court of Appeal
Kitale Law Courts
Nyeri Court Of Appeal
Iten Law Courts
Mombasa Law Courts
Siaya Law Courts
Karatina Law Courts
Maseno Law Courts
Makadara Law Courts
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
|Balance required to complete
|Kigumo Law Courts
|Chuka Law Courts
|Engineer Law Courts
|Vihiga Law Courts
|Nyando Law Courts
|Molo Law Courts
|Oyugis Law Courts
|Nyamira Law Courts
|Muhoroni Law Courts (Tamu)
|Nakuru Law Courts
|Siaya Law Courts
|Garissa Law Courts
|Makindu Law Courts
|Nanyuki Law Courts
|Kibera Law Courts
|Voi Law Courts
|Kapenguria Law Courts
|Maralal Law Courts
|Isiolo Law Court
|Kwale Law Courts
|Wajir Law Courts
|Ol-Kalou Law Courts
|Kakamega Law Courts
|Mukurweini Law Courts
|Mombasa Law Courts
|Makueni Law Courts
|Kangema Law Courts (Phase II)
|Kajiado Law Courts
|Kapsabet Law Courts
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.
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.
HON. JUSTICE DAVID K. MARAGA, EGH
JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION