Courts not to blame in fight against graft

LSK says ju­di­ciary is not the weak­est link, as each part of the trial chain has a role to play

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics - SAM KIPLAGAT @skipla­gats

The Law So­ci­ety of Kenya has de­fended the ju­di­ciary from al­le­ga­tions that it is the weak­est link in the fight against cor­rup­tion.

The lawyers’ um­brella body said the ju­di­ciary has be­come the “con­ve­nient whip­ping boy against cor­rup­tion”.

In a state­ment to news­rooms, LSK pres­i­dent Isaac Okero said cases are as good as pre­sented and pros­e­cuted and it is wrong to squarely blame judges.

“Shoddy in­ves­ti­ga­tions and poorly con­ducted prose­cu­tions are more likely the cause of de­lays in the de­ter­mi­na­tion of cases or of the low rate of con­vic­tions than cor­rup­tion of ju­di­cial of­fi­cers,” he said.

Speak­ing on Tues­day dur­ing the Anti-cor­rup­tion and Ac­count­abil­ity Sum­mit at State House, var­i­ous heads of agen­cies ac­cused the ju­di­ciary of in­or­di­nate de­lay in con­clud­ing cases and frus­trat­ing the war on cor­rup­tion.

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta said he had played his part, but other in­sti­tu­tions are let­ting him down. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Githu Muigai said the weak­est link is the courts.

“The truth is if you have 600 cases and you have only three be­ing re­solved ev­ery month, then you have the weak­est link,” he said.

But Okero said for the best re­sults in the trial of cor­rup­tion cases, each com­po­nent of the en­tire chain must as­pire to the high­est qual­ity.

“The ju­di­ciary is con­cerned and re­spon­si­ble only for the ad­ju­di­ca­tion of cases be­fore it. Kenyans know that the first two stages of in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion are of­ten far from free of fault or con­tam­i­na­tion,” he said.

The LSK chair­man said they have con­fi­dence in new Chief Jus­tice David Maraga, as he will re­store the func­tion, dig­nity and col­le­gial­ity of the Supreme Court and in­stil dis­ci­pline and pro­fes­sional stan­dards.

He said the CJ’s ex­pe­ri­ence in pri­vate prac­tice and as a judge of the su­pe­rior court gives him the ben­e­fit of per­spec­tives of both the Bar and the Bench. He said this will be use­ful as he con­sid­ers his strat­egy.

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