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Sh14bn budget cut to derail case backlog clearance

The courts received Sh17.3 billion for 2018/19, down from the Sh31.2 billion they requested for recurrent and development expenditure. Chief Justice David Maraga said on Tuesday the Treasury’s move will force the Judiciary to suspend operations of more than 50 mobile courts across the country, derailing efforts to clear a backlog of cases. The Judiciary had targeted to determine cases older than five years by December.

The Judiciary has warned that clearance of the current backlog of cases will stall after the Treasury slashed its budget by Sh13.9 billion. The courts received Sh17.3 billion for 2018/19, down from the Sh31.2 billion they requested for recurrent and development expenditure.Chief Justice David Maraga said on Tuesday the Treasury’s move will force the Judiciary to suspend operations of more than 50 mobile courts across the country, derailing efforts to clear a backlog of cases. The Judiciary had targeted to determine cases older than five years by December.But with the movement of judges and magistrates from their stations curtailed, this is unlikely to happen.

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“We wish to inform the public that while we shall continue doing our best to deliver justice to Kenyans, judicial services will this year be severely affected as a result of the budget cuts,” said Justice Maraga.The CJ added that the woes are compounded by the looming expiry of the Judicial Performance Improvement Project (JPIP), a Sh11.5 billion loan from World Bank that is currently funding majority of the projects.JPIP came into effect in April 2013 and has so far received Sh5.3 billion while a further Sh 5.2 billion is committed in ongoing projects with Judiciary projecting Sh 7.2 billion will have been utilised by December.Failure by the government to extend the project period until October 2020 will see Sh 4.3 billion un-utilized, a move that will see 29 court construction projects funded by World Bank stall.Another 41 on-going projects funded by the government that require Sh 1.9 billion to complete are also likely to stall due to the budget cut.The projects currently require Sh 4.8 billion to complete as the Judiciary seeks to expand services to previously under-served areas.

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