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Treasury answers CJ Maraga over budget cuts outburst

The National Treasury has clapped back at the Chief Justice David Maraga following his recent outburst against a move by the executive to slash judiciary budgetary allocation.

Justice Maraga said the move had put operations at the institution in a precarious situation.

But acting Treasury CS Ukur Yatani now says he was taken aback when Mr Maraga went on a rant during a press briefing on Monday, despite a meeting scheduled this week between him and the Judiciary boss, to seek the way forward.

“I was equally shocked at the kind of public address by the Judiciary. What they should have done is just to seek an appointment here, we sit with them, take them through the journey and see areas we can mitigate. I had a session with the National Assembly yesterday, the Parliamentary Reserve Commission, we were able to take them through the journey on the performance of the revenue. If our revenue has fallen short of the target by certain amount, which arm of the government should bear the whole responsibility?” posed Mr Yatani.

INTRODUCED MEASURES

The CS said Treasury had not cut the funds allocated to any arm of the government but had instead introduced measures where programmes would be funded depending on the availability of funds at the exchequer.

“I can confidently tell you we have not reduced the budget for the Judiciary or the National Assembly. What we have done, we have instituted measures that we continue funding activities and programmes based on availability of the exchequer. You can have your money, you can even carry it forward, but we will release money to you based on what we can afford at that period. We cannot now service only one organization and leave all others. We have equally important compelling activities that run in this country on a day to day basis including healthcare, water, infrastructure,” he opined.

Mr Yatani’s remarks came hot in the heels of the hard-hitting address by the CJ, which has elicited mixed reactions from across the country.

The rant up by the CJ, who is known for his firm and collected nature, caught many by surprise. Many Kenyans have translated the budgetary cuts to be as a result of the bad blood between the Jubilee administration and the judiciary following the landmark judgment that invalidated the August 2017 presidential election results.

The decision which apparently upset President Uhuru Kenyatta saw the Head of State give the infamous warning: “We shall revisit.”