Chief Justice David Maraga has blamed the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for the delays experienced in prosecution of graft cases in the country.
Mr Maraga said that the cases have been dragging on for long because of the DPP’s failure to present courts with key documents on time.
The CJ explained that often cases start when the DPP has not obtained all the required documents, leading to adjournments to give his team more time.
“When starting a case there are times when DPP [Noordin Haji] has not got all the documents but we have talked to him and told him to come to court with documents to guard against unnecessary adjournments. They are working on it,” said Mr Maraga on Sunday.
The CJ was speaking during a visit to Kamiti Maximum Prison when he visited inmates in an event organised by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Mr Maraga’s assertions comes against a backdrop of blame heaped on the Judiciary by both President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Haji over the easy bail terms granted to corruption suspects.
On Wednesday, while presiding over the 55th Jamhuri Day celebrations at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, the President cautioned the Judiciary against giving corruption suspects an easy ride with “ridiculously low” bail terms.
“I am again calling on the Judiciary to ensure that its procedures are not used to protect impunity. Kenyans’ spirits are dampened when we witness suspects released on ridiculously low bail terms, interference in legislative processes, and the use of the court process to delay justice,” said Mr Kenyatta.
The President’s remarks came after the DPP had last month said that cases where State officials facing serious charges continue holding office and receiving salaries were derailing his work.
Mr Haji said that having corruption suspects out on bail, and worse still, allowing them to remain in office with full access to public resources, undermines the war against corruption.
He cited the examples of Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and Migori Governor Okoth Obado, who are facing abuse of office and murder charges respectively.
“I am frustrated that once I charge certain individuals, I can’t get them to face the law. Some remain in office to flex their muscles, intimidate witnesses and interfere with the investigations,” Mr Haji said in an interview with Citizen TV.
‘RULE OF LAW’
But Mr Maraga explained that he is not to be blamed for the bail terms as their determination rests with the law as contained in the Constitution and the judges and magistrates handling the cases.
“The terms are with the judge and magistrate in charge, it is not with me. The law says that bail is a constitutional right which is not given freely but depends on several circumstances like if one can interfere with investigations or escape. If we are given evidence then we can deny them bond. So it rests with the court and not me,” he said.
He said that the Judiciary is currently giving graft cases priority.
“I have directed judges and magistrates that when they start a case they continue with it until its end before starting another one,” said Mr Maraga.