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No tea, newspapers for Nyeri Judiciary staff after budget cut

Wednesday October 30 2019

Tea

The Judiciary has suspended the provision of tea and newspapers to its staff in Nyeri including judges and magistrates, following a budgetary cut by the National Treasury. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JOSEPH WANGUI
By JOSEPH WANGUI
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The Judiciary has suspended the provision of tea and newspapers to its staff in Nyeri including judges and magistrates, following a budgetary cut by the National Treasury.

Also suspended is the payment of meal allowances for the staff, in a directive that is will take effect on November 1, 2019.

This comes even as the Judiciary on Tuesday won the first round of its battle with the Executive after the High Court stopped further slashing of its funds.

COURT ORDER

Justice Makau Mutua issued the order after the Law Society of Kenya sued the National Treasury and the Attorney-General to protest against the budget cuts.

Nyeri Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo, in a memo attached to another memo by Chief Registrar of Judiciary Anne Amandi, has directed the staff to ensure all electronic devices such as computers are used sparingly and switched off when not in use.

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Ms Amandi, in the memo seen by the Nation, directed heads of the financial spending units within the Judiciary to put in place measures to ensure efficient use of the “available meagre resources”.

The activities already budgeted for in the second quarter of this financial year have been set aside and the heads of the court stations have been advised to ensure no expenditure is incurred without sufficient budget provision.

DRASTIC REDUCTION

Ms Amandi said the circular from the Treasury proposed drastic reduction from both recurrent and development budget by Sh1.493 billion and Sh1.404 billion, respectively.

The recurrent budget provisions have been reduced by 50 per cent.

The affected expenditures include communication, supplies and services, transport for both domestic and foreign travels, printing, advertising and information supplies and services, training expenses, hospitality, office and general supplies.

Others include fuel, routine maintenance of vehicles, machines and other transport equipment, refurbishment of buildings and purchase of vehicles.

COURT OF APPEAL

Due to the stalemate between the Executive and the Judiciary, operations at the Court of Appeal in Nyeri also hang in the balance owing to the slashing of domestic travel allowances and shortage of judges.

This means a three-judge bench cannot make regular visits to the region as has been case in the past.

The court’s deputy registrar Harrison Adika Tuesday said the twin crisis has led to a rise in the backlog of cases at the Court of Appeal to around 800.

Mr Adika said the court station has a shortage of one judge after the retirement of Justice GBM Kariuki. The bench needs three judges.

“The reshuffle conducted by JSC in February this year affected the operations of the court. Crisis started after Justice Kariuki’s retirement and we used to borrow one judge from Nairobi so as to make the bench complete,” said Mr Adika.

NO MONEY

But he noted that even if a temporary judge is deployed to the station, there is no money to cater for subsistence facilitation such as accommodation and travel.

“We are referring all urgent applications to Nairobi while the normal appeals have to wait until the station gets a complete bench of judges,” said Mr Adika.

Judges deployed to the station were justices Daniel Musinga, Roselyne Nambuye and Alnasir Visram.

But Justice Visram was picked by President Uhuru Kenyatta to a tribunal that investigated Supreme Court Judge Jackton Ojwang.

Later Mr Musinga was deployed to Malindi and Ms Nambuye to Nairobi.

According to the court’ calendar, the Court of Appeal in Nyeri was scheduled to resume sittings on November 4, but Mr Adika said the sessions will not kick off due to the existing challenges.

“If the financial crisis persists to February next year, I see courts closing shop. Without money in the second quarter, courts cannot purchase anything,” he noted.