INCREASED budget in the Judiciary has heightened corruption in the administrative system, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said yesterday.
He said cartels of corruption has emerged in the Judicial administrative cadre which need to be stopped. Speaking during the launch of the Advocates Disciplinary Tribunal at Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi, Mutunga said he is in contact with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission over the issue.
"I am already in contact with the chairman of EACC inviting him to take action that would reclaim the Judiciary from new corruption cartels emerging in the administrative cadre," he said. Of late, the Judicial Service Commission has been at logger heads with the Chief Registrar, Gladys Shollei, over corruption claims.
At one time Shollei was suspended before she resumed her job after claiming before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Legal Affairs that some of the JSC members wanted to arm twist her in decision making. At some point, Mutunga formed a committee to probe financial, administration and human resource management at the Judiciary during the row. Yesterday, Mutunga said the legal profession in the bench and the bar currently faces a crisis of confidence.
He said it is no secret that the status and adoration which the profession once had is now blemished. The CJ said though changes have been carried out in the past three years, there remains a lot of work to be done.
"A question we continually need to ask ourselves is how we can further improve and strengthen the administration of justice," Mutunga said. Mutunga said much has gone to tackle integrity deficits, including the continuing vetting of judges and magistrates.
"When I took oath of office, I recall signaling that my ambition was to ensure that the words Judiciary and corruption would not be spoken in the same breath." he said. The CJ said advocates have not been left out in the corruption issue as some lawyers are facing charges for actions detrimental to clients interests.
"The number of complaints received by the Advocates Complaints Commission continues to grow, while the Disciplinary Tribunal has had to increase its sittings to deal with increased caseload," Mutunga said.
He said Kenyans have become alert and increasingly aware and assertive of their rights. "If the legal profession is to be taken seriously, there needs to be a thoughtful and decisive response to the dilemmas facing it so as to re- build confidence among Kenyans that advocates can be relied upon for justice," the CJ said.
Mutunga said lawyers have to uphold high ethical standards within their profession in respect for values of honesty, fairness and good faith to promoting a just and efficient legal system.