Transfer of officers grounds cases at Kibera courts

By: BENSON MATHEKA

Transfer of magistrates and uncooperative police officers is affecting delivery of justice at Kibera law courts, with simple criminal cases taking up to six years without being disposed of.

At least four magistrates have been transferred from the station this year, with cases they were handling having to start afresh.

Police officers handling the cases have not been spared either. Most have been moved to new stations in remote areas, others have left the service, putting cases on hold.

The station’s head of prosecution Mary Wangele said some cases have been heard by five magistrates but have not been concluded. Others have taken up to six years.

“Each time a new magistrates takes up a matter, the law requires directions should be taken whether the accused would like the case to proceed or start afresh,” said Ms Wangele said.

One such case is that of Erick Kibinu Kinuthia who was charged in 2009 with fraud. The case has been handled by more than five magistrates, one of them now a High Court judge – Justice Cecilia Githua.

According to Ms Wangele, the Judiciary should put in measures to ensure that transfer of magistrates does not affect cases.

Early this year, Judith Wanjala, who was the head of the station was replaced with the Ann Ong’ijo the current Chief Magistrate.

Ms Mereza Opondo, a principal magistrate was suspended and her colleague, Mr Tito Gesora axed by the Judges and Magistrate Vetting Board. They have not been replaced.

Another magistrate Bryan Khaemba was transferred to Kiambu court and was replaced by Mr Shadrack Mwinzi from Naivasha law courts.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION