Chief Justice David Maraga on Friday came out with guns blazing against attacks at the Judiciary as the weakest link in the war on graft.
Heads of investigation and prosecution agencies have accused the Judiciary of slow progress on corruption cases.
DCI George Kinoti and DPP Noordin Haji on Thursday said lenient bail and “strange orders from the courts” are some of the hurdles hampering the war on corruption.
Kinoti and Haji said courts make it difficult for the agencies to arrest rich and powerful corruption suspects.
“Some of the frustrations that pull us down are some strange orders we receive. We are stopped even before we record a statement from somebody whom we know very well has stolen from Kenyans,” Kinoti said.
They spoke during the multi-agency conference at the Bomas of Kenya.
But Maraga downplayed the accusations and hit back at the DCI and DPP for what he called “gimmicks” and trying to use the Judiciary as a scapegoat.
“The fight against corruption is not going to be won by blame games. It will not be won by Friday arrests. Let truth be told. We are not going to win this war by these kind of gimmicks,” the visibly agitated CJ said.
Kinoti has been arresting suspects on Friday and they sleep in police cells for the weekend since the Judiciary doesn’t work on Saturday and Sunday.
Maraga said the DPP and the DCI have been filing half-baked cases in court, with weak evidence. Sometimes, he said, the prosecution appears in court ill-prepared, forcing the presiding judges and magistrates to adjourn the cases.
“The war against corruption is going to be won by concrete evidence that will be brought to us. If you are not going to bring concrete evidence, then we are going to acquit,” the CJ said.
“You put 30 accused persons in one charge sheet and they have 30 lawyers. You [Kinoti and Haji] will continue blaming the Judiciary and we are not going to move anywhere.”
The CJ further said Kenya will not win the corruption war without honesty and courage. “This war must be won by the application of the rule of law… the Constitution guarantees the right to be heard.. presumed innocent until proved guilty,” he said.
“This war will be won by use of technology and block chains. We need to invest in courage… people being courageous. Come and tell us about this corruption case with concrete evidence.”
On Friday, President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga also accused the Judiciary of granting “abnormal bails, strange orders and long periods cases are taking in courts”. Uhuru said some orders have cost the taxpayer billions of shillings and derailed development.
“Our courts must stop the practice of issuing injunctions against investigations of corrupt activities. Issuing these orders makes it easier for the mandarins of corruption to destroy evidence and intimidate witnesses. Kenyans have spoken, this practice must stop,” Uhuru said.
Raila added,“We are witnessing a trend where suspects rush to court to stop the DCI and the DPP from arresting and charging them with corruption. And the courts are granting such suspects their wishes.”
While admitting that some cases have dragged on in courts for a long time, the CJ complained of the meagre resources the Judiciary has been allocated, compared with the staff and the amount of work it is required to undertake.
“There is an issue of under-funding. Last year we asked for Sh31 billion, but we only got Sh14 billion. We are being starved,” he said.
Maraga further said they need support to deal with corruption within the Judiciary and Judicial Service Commission. “I agree there is corruption in Judiciary but the information we get is not actionable. We are asking for support to investigate some of the complaints that are coming in the Judiciary and JSC,” he said