NAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – The National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee has stepped in to resolve a dispute between the Judiciary and a private developer over a piece of land near the Supreme Court building.
This is after the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi told the MPs that the Judiciary cannot implement its planned expansion of the Supreme Court “because the parcel of land had been grabbed.”
Amadi said the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was in talks with the developer whom she declined to name despite pressure from legislators.
“The Supreme Court is very old, there is the space near the Supreme Court that hosts the Maasai Market during the weekend. That land apparently belonged to the Judiciary before but now it is registered in the name of an individual. But we have began the process of reclaiming it so that we can have a proper Supreme Court at that space,” the CRJ stated.
Committee chairman Samuel Chepkonga said they will take up the matter with the National Lands Commission (NLC) with a view of having the title revert back to the Judiciary.
Amadi who appeared before the House team to defend the Judiciary budget estimates came under pressure from Kihara MP Irungu Kangata who claimed that a certain funding partner of Judiciary programmes may have influenced the recent controversial High Court ruling allowing the registration of same sex lobby groups.
The Judiciary requires Sh472 billion in the next budget up from Sh439 million, of which Sh257 million up from Sh244 million will go to the JSC and Sh214 million up from Sh194 million going to the Judiciary Training Institute.
Kangata’s query was triggered by the presentation done by High Court Registrar saying Ford Foundation contributes towards capacity building and training for the Supreme Court.
“Chair, I can tell you here – through the capacity building and training aspect- is where the Europeans bring their philosophy to the Judiciary. They train on human rights, homosexuality. So the question begs why go for Ford Foundation? There are other people which can do. Chairman, this committee should demand all the details into what Ford (Foundation) actually funds,” he said.
His assertion came despite the CRJ explaining that the United Nations Development Programme also gives funds for the ‘Justice at Last’ initiative which is aimed at clearing the cases backlog at the High Court while World Bank funding goes towards construction of law courts, ICT and case management.
Chepkonga had earlier inquired into the curriculum used at the JTI. He was apparently concerned by recent remarks by the Magistrates and Judges Vetting Board which noted that most of the recently appointed judges were poor at writing judgments.
Amadi said the Judiciary needs 30 more judges to deal with lands related matters. The Judiciary recently hired 14 judges in a bid to ease the backlog that has been experienced in the halls of justice.
There are also plans to construct 12 new High Courts and 10 new Magistrate Courts before September 2016.
The Judiciary registered a 42 percent increase in revenue collected through fines and bonds, with Sh2.11 billion collected up from last year’s Sh1.4 billion.
Amadi attributed the rise to the shift from a cash payment system to a banking transfer system.