MPs blame increased budgets for rising corruption in govt

Wednesday February 17 2016

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga (centre),

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga (centre), accompanied by members of the Judicial Service Commission, addresses journalists outside the Supreme Courts on February 5, 2016. MPs on Tuesday blamed massive increases in budgetary allocations to the Judiciary — from Sh3 billion to Sh16 billion in three years — as being behind the rise in corruption. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOHN NJAGI
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MPs on Tuesday blamed massive increases in budgetary allocations to the Judiciary — from Sh3 billion to Sh16 billion in three years — as being behind the rise in corruption.

South Mugirango MP Manson Nyamweya said the Judiciary went on a spending spree on receiving the funds.

He said Parliament should in future ensure necessary that structures were in place to absorb funds.

Suba MP John Mbadi said apart from the Judiciary, other agencies where high corruption had been witnessed after their budgets were increased were the National Youth Service (NYS) and the Ministry of Health.

He called for budgets allocations to ministries and government agencies to be restructured.

Nominated MP Amina Abdallah said the number of lawyers in the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) should be reduced and their positions filled by staff from other professions.

“To curb corruption we should address the structural problems of the JSC, since the seven lawyers and five judges who sit as commissioners have an interest in their own development,” he said.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

She said the lawyers usually engage in turf wars in succession battles to head the JSC, bringing about a conflict of interest.

Ms Abdallah said most of the JSC members usually have a high number of cases, since they know they are unlikely to lose as judges hearing the matters, by virtue of their positions, are their employees.

The MPs were discussing a special audit report by the Public Accounts Committee that recommended punitive measures against JSC commissioners, Supreme Court Judge Smokin Wanjala, Court of Appeal Judge Mohammed Warsame, lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, Rev Samuel Kobia, Ms Christine Mango and Ms Emily Ominde for irregularly earning allowances.

Out of the team, only Mr Abdullahi has since left the JSC, having lost an election as a representative of the Law Society of Kenya, with the other members still sitting on the commission.

Ms Abdallah said in a properly functioning legal system, the commissioners would have left office by now and faced prosecution but it was still business as usual.

The MPs accused the former registrar of the Judiciary, Ms Gladys Shollei, of being at the centre of the corruption and spending spree of Judiciary funds, breaking all procurement rules in the books, buying goods and starting mega construction projects without a clear needs assessment.

The report has recommended that Ms Shollei be investigated for the loss of Sh2.2 billion, which cannot be accounted for.

Kibwezi East MP Jessica Mbalu said that following reports of massive corruption, any hopes Kenyans had in judicial transformation had been betrayed.