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CJ David Maraga issues new rules on graft cases

Thursday December 15 2016
Maraga

Chief Justice David Maraga. He has directed all applications challenging corruption charges to only be heard by the corruption High Court in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By MAUREEN KAKAH

Chief Justice David Maraga has directed all applications challenging corruption charges to only be heard by one High Court in Nairobi.

The CJ said such applications will be handled by the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Division, which he launched Thursday.

He said the move will speed up hearing of applications that are usually filed by suspects facing corruption charges.

He said the determination of such applications used to delay because judges in other High Courts have other cases to handle.

Moving the cases to the anti-corruption division will speed up hearing and determinations, he said.

The CJ said Kenyans should be forgiven for thinking that the rich and powerful facing corruption charges cannot be convicted because of the numerous application they file in court to delay the cases.

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“The Judiciary will not be a sanctuary or shelter for the corrupt,” he said adding that the new division will not entertain unnecessary adjournments.

He said applications will be determined within a month and any institution that delays the cases will be exposed.

“We will tell the public if it’s the office of the DPP (Director of Public Prosecution) or any other institution that is delaying the cases,” he said.

EVIDENCE

The CJ further urged institutions involved in investigating and prosecuting corruption cases to give credible evidence to the court.

“If you give us evidence, we shall convict, if you don’t give us evidence to prove a case beyond reasonable doubt, we shall acquit,” he said.

According to new practice directions for the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes division, all corruption cases will now be determined within three months.

The new rules were published in a gazette notice.

“All urgent applications shall be fast tracked, heard and determined within 60 days, all other ones shall be dealt with within 90 days,” the CJ said.

In the new rules, corruption cases would exceptionally be allowed to exceed that period if only there is good reason to extend the allocated time.

The guidelines require that mention of cases be limited to only deserving cases and that if need be, parties would have to write to the Deputy Registrar so as to be given the discretion to have such.

And to enable judges prepare rulings and judgments on time, parties will be required to send to the court soft copies of the case documents using the court email address.

The rules also encourage Alternative Dispute Resolution in settling matters before they are dragged to court.

Parties who fail to comply with the new set of rules will face a penalty from the court for being non-compliant.

A schedule of corruption related cases will also be posted online every Friday.

The Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Division was set up by retired Chief Justice Willy Mutunga earlier this year and is being headed by Lady Justice Hedwig Ong’undi.

Other additional ten new magistrates appointed to serve in this division include Lucas Onyina, Litizia Wachira, Martha Mutuku, Liz Gicheha, Godfrey Oduor, Rose Makungu, Jared Magori, Anne Mwangi, Peter Ooko and Florence Macharia.

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