Chief Justice Martha Koome has announced that she will give priority to over 400 corruption cases pending before courts, in which anti-corruption agencies are seeking to recover Kshs.11billion worth of public assets.
In a move that will boost the fight against corruption, which fight has been dogged by cases taking up to 10 years to conclude, the Chief Justice set a timeline of three years for judges to settle cases, with appeals to take one year.
“Every Judge must take individual initiative to reduce backlog and ensure that we hear and determine cases in a timely manner,” she said. “You must reduce the number of adjournments and strive to resolve cases with fewer hearings. Always endeavor to make each case hearing date meaningful. You must discourage interlocutory applications and preliminary objections,” she added.
The Environment and Lands Court alone has 13,500 pending cases, of which 9500 are pending before Nairobi courts. The move to open more courts will be big boost to conclusion of cases, with a record 471 cases heard and determined in a period of 84 days.
“It is my hope that the new courts within Nairobi will be key in bringing justice to more Kenyans and further reduce the backlog at the chief magistrates’ commercial court and the criminal courts,” Koome said.
With the former CJ having been accused of being an impediment in the fight against corruption, the new CJ’s declaration of her intention to expedite the administration of justice in corruption cases is a welcome move.