Judiciary budgetary cuts will transfer the burden of construction of courts to citizens, chief registrar Anne Amadi has said.
Ms Amadi expressed concern that citizens may be overwhelmed by paying more taxes to fund delayed Judiciary projects owing to current funding constraints.
She said the cost of court construction projects is likely to go higher if funding is delayed or their budgets cut.
“As an accounting officer, it is in my interest that when we begin projects we should finish them on time. When we delay, the costs and expenses go higher in terms of interests and penalties,” she said.
Ms Amadi argued that additional expenses incurred to complete stalled projects end up being transferred to Kenyans.
The Judiciary has been suffering from budgetary cuts and delayed funding, which has affected completion of different projects such as construction of court buildings.
Ms Amadi said she is worried that some of the court proceedings in the country are being handled in facilities she described as undignified because of delayed construction of modern courts.
“The main problem facing the Judiciary is funding. We have just received some money from Treasury. We will use it to complete some ongoing projects,” she said.
Ms Amadi spoke when she visited the construction site of the Sh400 million Homa Bay Law Courts complex, which has been delayed because of budgetary cuts.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the project was commissioned by Chief Justice David Maraga in June 2017 but it stalled thereafter due to shortage of funds.
Ms Amadi, however, assured Homa Bay residents that the project will continue in the current financial year.
“The project is about 40 per cent complete. The funds we have received are expected to boost construction to 98 per cent by the end of this financial year if we do not get any interruptions,” she said.
She also assessed the Homa Bay Law Courts to assess capacity to handle virtual proceedings during the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said half of the courts in the country are able to handle cases electronically. Meanwhile, in Mombasa, the law courts reopened yesterday after two weeks closure following the outbreak of Covid-19, which saw 11 members of the staff test positive for the disease.
Head of the station, Ms Edna Nyaloti, said the facility was reopened after no more additional cases were reported.
The magistrate said that apart from the 11 members, who were found to be infected with the virus last month, no other staff had tested positive.
“Everybody is back to work, we reopened after every one was retested and confirmed negative,” Ms Nyaloti said.
Those who had tested positive are said to have recovered from the disease.
The magistrate also said that all the 118 people who had been advised to self-quarantine after coming into contact with the 11 positive cases have reported back to work.
She said those attending court must adhere to the guidelines that have been put in place to curb the spread of the virus.
The facility will still observe health guidelines to avoid congestion in the court premises.
A tent has been put outside the court where pleas are taken. Chief Justice David Maraga last month ordered the closure of the facility when staff members including judicial officers contracted the virus.
Activities at the facility were scaled down with only one judge assigned to handle only urgent matters.