Chief Justice David Maraga has yet again launched a fierce defense of the Judiciary over claims that the organ has been a stumbling block in the fight against corruption.
Maraga instead shifted blame to the country’s foremost investigative agencies which he accused of presenting insufficient evidence to cases effectively leaving judges with no choice but to dismiss many of them.
According to Maraga who was responding to accusations from the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the courts are the country’s temples of justice and as such their independence must be respected.
“The war against corruption is going to be won by evidence. I have no right to be a CJ if I have to confer with the DCI and DPP to assist them in prosecution.
We will not entertain cases of evidence tampering by the police. We will not send any innocent man to jail,” the Chief Justice said.
The four institutions had on the previous day bashed the Judiciary for allegedly frustrating prosecution of individuals linked to the graft by setting them free, leading to witness interference and curtailing investigations.
But by blaming the Judiciary for lack of successful convictions of offenders, the CJ says the anti-graft agencies are dishonest.
“Those who feel aggrieved come to us and file cases, we do not go to them. Like today, I am being shown on social media naked...we are not going to win the war on corruption with such gimmicks,” a straight-talking Maraga charged.
The DPP was particularly enraged with what he termed as the issuance of strange orders by the judiciary on numerous cases presented before the judges.
Maraga is however adamant that judges only act according to evidence presented before them.
“The war against corruption is going to be won by concrete evidence that is going to be brought to us. We will dismiss half-baked cases and we will do firmly,” he said.
The Supreme Court President went on to suggest that most of the cases haven’t seen the light of day owing to their nature.
“Look at the way you frame cases; you put 30 accused people in one charge sheet and they are represented by 30 lawyers. How long do you think that will take?”
Maraga told the DPP Speaking during a two day National Anti-Corruption Conference at the Bomas of Kenya, in Nairobi, the Chief Justice also lamented continuous underfunding of the judiciary by parliament citing this as a major setback to the resolution of cases which have been dragging on for long.
“If Kenyans want the Judiciary to give them what they want we need funding. We can see some resources being given to other institutions and we are being stuffed. The Judiciary is extremely underfunded,” he said.
Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association (KMJA) joined Maraga in condemning unwanted attacks on Judiciary and individual judicial officers by members of the Executive.
KMJA Secretary General Derrick Kuto dismissed allegations that judicial officers are an impediment in graft war.