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CJ says Judiciary facing Sh1.6bn cash shortfall

The CJ says the Judiciary has already exceeded its budget after meeting staff costs and contractual obligations/FILE

The CJ says the Judiciary has already exceeded its budget after meeting staff costs and contractual obligations/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 8 – Chief Justice Willy Mutunga says the Judiciary requires an additional Sh1.6 billion to meet a funding shortfall of Sh2.5 billion for contracts already signed.

In a statement released from his office, The CJ says the Judiciary has already exceeded its budget after meeting staff costs and contractual obligations.

Mutunga further warns that court operations could be affected with deficit expected to go up with the pile-up of pending bills from the previous financial year.

He said the Judiciary finance department is working to urgently establish a true picture of the state of finances which include including a first draft of the supplementary budget needs for 2013/2014 as well as proposals for rapid, early conversations with Treasury and Parliament on emergency financing.

The CJ’s office further claims the spectacle the public has been treated to between JSC and the sacked Chief Registrar of the Judiciary is an attempt to divert attention from the grave issues.

“Just by moving the booking of air tickets from the Chief Registrar’s office for the Supreme Court’s trip to Colombia, the Judiciary Technical Institute (JTI) saved Sh500,000 per ticket,” The CJ adds in his statement. “We do not know what else we are going to find, but we are looking very hard.”

The Chief Justice has directed the administrators to account for big expenditure projects by early December, specifically cautioning that ‘a billion shillings is the turnover of a respected company’.

“Additionally, the Judiciary is accelerating the forensic audit process to cover the financial years 2011/2012 and 2012/2013. And the Judiciary welcomes the Public Accounts Committee’s directive to the Auditor-General to pursue further investigations.” said the CJ.

The Judiciary through the JSC has already invited the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Inspector-General of Police and Director of Public Prosecutions to pursue further investigations and action based on what has been found so far.

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A two-week inspection of the Judiciary finances has revealed that some of the contracts which are being carried out have been inflated leading to the current cash flow pressures.

The CJ’s statement says over Sh5 billion has been committed in contracts for the financial year 2012/13.

The preliminary probe into the Judiciary’s kitty says the construction of a High Court was internally costed at Sh300m which is on the higher side.

“Court construction costs have ballooned, a court in Turkana will cost Sh816m to build, while one in Kapsowar will cost Sh690m. The World Bank-supported court construction programme still costs new courts at Sh200m-Sh300m fully ICT-equipped,” the statement indicated.

It also singles out the Container Data Centre and the JKUAT Enterprises’ Advisory Services as other projects which were over-priced.

“The Container Data Centre is shown as contracted at Sh233m in the Contract Registrar. This is five times the original estimated costs projections by the ICT Director which put it at 51 million shillings. The tender was awarded at Sh106 million.” stated the CJ’s statement.

The statement reports that “JKUAT Enterprises’ Advisory Services have been contracted at between 8.5 and 10pc of works – in 2012/13, the value of this service is Sh103m, in 2013/14, they will bill a further Sh133m.”

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