Details of corruption in the Judiciary emerged on Thursday after it was discovered a contactor received Sh46 million to build courts at Mavoko, Machakos County, but work never started.
Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi said a contractor was paid half of Sh100 million, the estimated cost of the project, meant to ease an upsurge of cases from the Mlolongo weighbridge. However, one year later, no construction had taken place.
“Records show that the Judiciary, contrary to government financial regulations, paid the contractor and construction consultants Sh46.4 million,” she said.
As a result, magistrates and other staff at the Mavoko law courts have been forced to make do with two cargo containers, which have been turned into a court, registry and accounts office, on land donated by the defunct Mavoko Town Council.
Ms Amadi said no due diligence was done since the contractor, whose name has not been revealed, was paid the money even when the Judiciary had no land to build the courts.
“The Machakos County government has agreed to donate some land which will be used to construct the new law courts once investigations on this matter have been concluded,” the Chief Registrar said after visiting the court at Mavoko.
Following the confirmation, Ms Amadi said she would brief relevant bodies among them the Judicial Service Commission which would decide on the next course of action. However, it was not immediately clear whether the issue would land at the feet of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
Last year, the JSC raised concerns over inflated construction costs in the Judiciary, and the same was raised by Parliament’s budget committee, which also raised queries on the cost of ongoing construction in the courts.
The corruption allegations led to the sacking of former Chief Registrar Gladys Shollei and last week’s interdiction of four senior Judiciary officials by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga. The officials’ absence will pave way for investigations into procurement, court construction, irregular recruitment and promotions, among other issues.
Following revelations that graft was rife within the corridors of justice, Dr Mutunga instituted a review and evaluation of all construction projects and their cost.
Following the tour, Ms Amadi talked tough on graft in the Judiciary, saying construction would continue across the country to ensure services were brought closer, but fraud, inflation of costs by contractors or officers, would not be condoned.