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BY NAMULONGO PETER, NAIROBI,10TH AUG 2018-Chief Justice David Maraga on Friday recommended the allocation of minimum 1.5 per cent of the national budget to the Judiciary to facilitate smooth operations.
speaking during the opening on the Law Society of Kenya Annual Conference in Diani on Thursday said the 1.5 per cent quota should progressively be enhanced to attain the globally recommended threshold of 2.5 per cent.
He said the Judiciary was already engaging other arms of government with a view of addressing its budget deficit with the current allocation of Sh14.5 billion for the 2018/19 financial year capping development expenditure at Sh50 million.
“I am grateful to President Uhuru Kenyatta for adding his voice to our dilemma. We are in discussions with other Arms of Government on that and I am hopeful that a lasting solution will be found,” he told lawyers at the conference.
In order to address bottlenecks in the utilization of funds allocated to the Judiciary due to late disbursements, Maraga said he was keen on ensuring that regulations guiding the operationalization of the Judiciary Fund are concluded to strengthen the independence of the judiciary.
Once the fund is established, the Chief Justice said monies allocated to the judiciary should be deposited to the Judiciary Fund Account as soon as the budget speech is presented to the National Assembly.
“For the Judiciary to operate efficiently, it should be allocated between 1.5 and 2.5pc of the national budget which should be deposited in the Judiciary Fund Account immediately after the Budget Speech,” he said.
The chief justice has warned over the drastic reduction in resources allocated to the judiciary on July 24 when he pointed out that at least seventy ongoing court modernization and expansion projects would stall as a result of inadequate funding.
According to Maraga, the judiciary had requested for a total of Sh31.3 billion during the budget-making process only for it to be allocated Sh17.3 billion in the 2018/19 national budgetary statement, an amount that was revised to Sh14.5 billion in the Appropriation Act.
“When Parliament passed the Appropriation Act, the Judiciary’s total budget allocation was further reduced to Sh14.5 billion. Out of this, the development budget from the government is only Sh50 million, compared to Sh2.6 billion allocated to the Judiciary in the 2014/15 Financial Year,” Maraga drew comparison when he addressed the press in July.
The Chief Justice said 41 government-funded projects will stall with another 29 funded by the World Bank facing similar fate.
Maraga expressed frustration with the National Treasury’s unwillingness to approve an extension of World Bank loan facility extended to the Judiciary upon which 29 ongoing projects are reliant set to end in December this year.
“The government’s cut in the Judiciary Budget is made worse by the imminent expiry of the Judicial Performance Improvement Project (JPIP), the Sh11.5 billion World Bank loan facility through which many of the Judiciary projects have been funded,” he noted.
It will take a total of Sh1.9 billion to conclude the , the 41 government projects.