, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 15 – A new complex housing 57 courtrooms and 83 cells will be complete mid next month.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the completion of the complex will be a major step in the implementation of judicial reforms.
“The reforms are necessary to make the Judiciary responsive to change, be effective and efficient in delivery of services to all consumers of court services,” he said.
He said the construction is one of the major reforms which include physical infrastructure, facilities and equipment. The Premier also noted the importance of digitising the Judiciary by ensuring the courts have a fully fledged information technology department.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo also noted the construction was a major step that marked the government’s commitment to implement comprehensive judicial reforms.
“Reforms in the Judiciary is not just theory; it is a combination of theory, intellectual reforms and a combination of reforms like buildings,” he said.
The new complex however was said to be contributing to traffic jam, challenges of insecurity for the accused persons and lacked ample parking area.
Public Works Minister Chris Obure associated the inadequate parking space to a grabbed piece of land near the complex.
The PM said the government was finding it difficult to repossess public land allocated fraudulently to individuals because they were granted court injunctions that frustrated the government in its effort to reclaim the land for public use.
He said the practice was hampering the government’s development plans and called on courts to take judicial notice.
To create more space for the new courts, he also suggested that the Income Tax offices at Forodha house be moved to the NSSF building to use the offices occupied by the industrial court.
Lands Minister James Orengo said he had taken action to ensure the grabbed piece of land will be returned to the government. The complex situated at Nairobi’s Community area was renovated and expanded at a cost of Sh887 million.
The project began in February 2005 and was expected to be complete in December last year.
Mr Obure said the building will be handed over on October 15.
Fitted with 20 magistrate courts, 37 judge offices, prosecution offices and 83 cells, the complex will go a long way in decongesting the courts in the city.
Chief Justice Evan Gicheru who also toured the complex said once operational, the new courts will address many space and efficiency challenges experienced at the law courts in the city.