Chief Justice Koome cites corruption in case backlog

Monday, January 17th, 2022 00:00 | By
Chief Justice Martha Koome during the official opening of the second Annual High Court Leaders Conference in Mombasa, yesterday. Photo/PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU

Chief Justice Martha Koome  yesterday criticised “corrupt judicial officers” who she said have continued to soil the image of the Judiciary.

Koome said corrupt judges and magistrates were to blame for delayed judgments which contributes to a backlog of cases.

The CJ at the same time reminded the judges to conduct themselves appropriately to avoid a situation where aggrieved members of the public lodge petitions at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for their removal from office.

“The enemy within us is corruption. It is this enemy that delivers bribes to judges, it is the same one that makes us not to deliver judgments one year or more down the line after even giving judgment dates to the parties,” said Koome.

Social media

The Chief Justice was addressing a High Court Leaders Conference in Mombasa where she called on judicial officers to act in a manner that promotes public confidence and trust in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary.

“Contrary to this clear normative expectation, we continue receiving complaints on both social and mainstream media which have been awash with allegations of misconduct by judges and judicial officers that bring the integrity of the Judiciary into doubt,” she said.

Kiime stated: “I therefore urge Resident and Presiding Judges to be champions of integrity within the court stations and divisions of the court.

You must bring allegations relating to breach of the code of conduct and corruption to the attention of my office or that of the Judicial Service Commission for action. 

This will enable us to investigate and deal conclusively with such cases and enhance public confidence and trust in our judicial system,” said the CJ.

Innovative solutions

She noted that although there was a shortage of High Court judges, the Judiciary had now set its benchmark for faster delivery of justice by ensuring that no case stays in a trial court for more than three years, and no more than one year on appeal.

She directed Resident Judges in various court stations and presiding judges heading various divisions of the court to come up with innovative solutions that will ensure the problem of missing files is eliminated completely.

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