CJ Martha Koome on Friday, July 16, chaired her inaugural meeting of the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) that was attended by all State actors.
Koome put emphasis on traffic offences, which she said have been turned into a major “extortion ring and inconveniencing exercise” by some wayward traffic officers.
Instant fines for traffic offenders were first introduced in 2018 when Judge John Mativo ordered that a task force comprising various stakeholders be set up to draft the rules. He said the rules were aimed at achieving a legitimate purpose and public good.
In 2020, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i revealed that President Uhuru Kenyatta had ordered his ministry and that of Information and Communication headed by Joe Mucheru to have the policy in place by December 2020.
“We are going to meet all stakeholders and agree on the way forward to ensure the issue of instant fines works by December. There will be no need to waste time for offenders who are ready to pay.” Matiang'i had stated.
He had also stated the plan was part of the digitalization process in the criminal justice system.
In their proposal, petty traffic offenders were required to pay instant fines through mobile money transfer to prevent being hauled to the courts and cells.
Koome also stressed the need for collaboration by all stakeholders in the justice system, who are independent but interdependent.
"We are trying to build a society that is empowered to take charge of the disputes that we have to resolve conflicts outside of the courts and the courts to become a matter of the last resort," highlighted Koome
She concluded the meeting by acknowledging the commitment made by the Nairobi Metropolitan Service Director General, Mohammed Badi to construct 5 more Smalls Claims Courts in informal settlement within 3 months.
Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Nelson Havi, reacted to this meeting saying that if Koome cared to read the judicial service act, she would have known that the President of LSK is a member of (NCAJ). And that her determination to undermine elected leaders of LSK in the justice sector speaks volumes on who she is serving.