Machakos County Governor Alfred Mutua has appealed to the Judiciary to set up an elaborate system that will fast track hearing of graft cases.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Governor urged Chief Justice David Maraga to consider having cases heard on a daily basis including weekends so that they are concluded within a period of three months from the date of taking a plea.
According to Mutua, the war on corruption can’t be won if cases take ages to be concluded.
“Kenya is a country of great people and amazing resources. However, we linger as a poor and third world Nation that borrows heavily due to inefficiencies and the devil of greed called corruption, ” Mutua stated.
The Governor was reacting to the recent arrests where 28 top government officials including Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and his Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge were implicated in the Arror and Kimwarer Ksh63 billion dam scandal.
The dam projects were awarded to broke Italian firm CMC Di Ravenna.
According to the DPP, procurement rules were flouted and circumvented in the award of the projects to the company, leading to the loss of billions of taxpayers’ money.
“Kenyans are losing patience with corruption cases that seem never to end and where suspects continue walking free on the streets and even organizing campaigns using the same suspected stolen public monies, ” said Governor Mutua.
He continued: “In the same way elections petitions are heard continuously and with a set period, so should corruption cases. That way the accused are afforded justice and the people of Kenya also receive justice, ” the former government spokesperson added.
Mutua Commended the office of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Directorate of Public prosecution (DPP) and the Ethics and anti-corruption Commission (EACC) for their bold move in fighting graft in the country.
He, however, stated that Kenyans still expect a lot from the bodies.
“Kenyans still expect more BIG FISH and even BIGGER FISH to be apprehended and charged with corruption, ” he stated.
Mutua noted that if the judiciary reinvents itself, the Arror and Kimwarer Dams case will be concluded by October 31 this year and the other ongoing cases of NYS saga can be concluded by end of August 2019.
To achieve this, the Governor noted that the Judiciary will need to deploy enough officers dedicated only to the trial of corruption cases. This will include freeing judicial officers gazetted to hear corruption cases from the normal judicial work so as to concentrate on the graft cases.
“This fast-tracking of cases, for example from inception to a decision within say a period of three months will ensure there will not be an opportunity for unscrupulous suspects to tamper with evidence.”
He asserted that lost billions need to be recovered from the corrupt individuals, and for that to be achieved the government needs to do a bit more than it’s doing currently.
“As a country and indeed the President and Parliament, we must deploy enough resources to the judiciary to hire more magistrates, Judges, researchers and finance other related expenditures in order to build capacity to try and render decisions within the speedy timelines. We can’t expect the Judiciary to delivery when it is constrained financially.”
“We should not be slashing the Judiciary’s budget and yet make demands for expeditious hearings. The Judiciary Transformation Program cannot be successful unless it is properly funded and executed. It is only by doing this that monies that are stolen will come back to Kenyans to finance development and there will be a deterrent for public officials to be involved in corrupt activities, ” Mutua asserted.
Meanwhile, all the accused officials in the Elgeyo Marakwet dams case have denied all graft charges levelled against them and a Milimani court is set to make a ruling on their bail applications later on Tuesday.