Vetters of judges have been vetted

August 16, 2011 10:20 am
Board chairman nominee Sharad Rao

, NAIROBI Kenya, Aug 16- The Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) on Monday concluded vetting the six nominees to the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board as it moves to beat the fast approaching August 27 deadline.

The process which kicked off on Monday afternoon saw Sharad Rao, who had been nominated for the position of Chairperson alongside, Justus Maithya Munyithya, Roseline Odhiambo, Prof Ngotho wa Kariuki, Meuledi Mabruki and Abdirashid Abdullahi all vetted for their suitability.

The CIOC, under the leadership of Philip Kaloki (Kibwezi MP), said it would table the names to Parliament on Wednesday even though they will not be debated as the list was incomplete.

Under the recently passed Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Act, the President, in consultation with the Prime Minister and subject to the approval of the National Assembly shall appoint three distinguished non-citizen serving or retired judges, each of whom has served as a Chief Justice or judge of a superior court in the Commonwealth, to be members of the Board.

“And so what we will be able to do now is go through the nominees’ answers and compile a report, which we will present to Parliament for the final approval to the Board,” explained Mr Kaloki.

Although the CIOC members unanimously endorsed Mr Rao, Mr Munyithya, Ms Odhiambo and Prof Kariuki, it raised concerns with Ms Mabruki and Mr Abdullahi questioning their objective for applying for the job.

One of the CIOC members said that the committee would forward the six names as they were but highlight the concerns they had with Ms Mabruki and Mr Abdullahi.

During the vetting process the two said that they did not belong to any professional bodies even though they had served in several capacities in both the private and public sectors.

Ms Mabruki, who holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration, further indicated that she was currently not in any full time employment although she periodically offered consultancy.

She also said that her sources of income were rental property, dividends and director’s allowance. She also served as the deputy Director of the Kenya Seed Company for three years.

The Committee members asked Ms Mabruki why she did not apply to the Commission for Revenue Allocation or to the Controller of Budget positions, which they felt were more suited for her credentials.

“What’s your purpose for applying for this job? Is it because you are currently out of a job?” asked Turkana MP Ekwe Ethuro.

Ms Mabruki however defended her interests for a position in the Board saying that she was an all rounded person who wanted to be part of judicial reforms.

Mr Abdullahi, who served as a member of the now defunct Committee of Experts (CoE), was put to task over his sources of income as well as his educational background. In his financial assets bit, Mr Abdullahi said he only owned two commercial plots in Garissa worth Sh2.4 million and a vehicle worth Sh600,000.

He however said that he did not have any tenants in his plots and was therefore relying on savings made during his tenure at the CoE.

“I have been surviving on what I made at the CoE but I have not been employed since so my savings are dwindling. I hope that I’ll be able to secure another job somewhere, if not this one. This is Kenya; I’ll be able to survive,” he said raising more questions from the CIOC members.

Mr Ethuro asked him what other savings he had other than the car and the plots noting that he had not listed them.

“You are telling us that you survive on your savings but when I look at your net worth, you are only talking of some Sh2.4 million based on some plots, which don’t have any tenants and have not been liquidated, and the Prado which I’m sure you are still using and has also not been liquidated so we can’t see the source of your savings,” he said.

Mr Abdullahi however maintained that he relied on the gratuity received from the CoE. He also got emotional during the vetting process when he was asked why he had two Masters Degrees.

“I was denied the chance to pursue my Masters because I come from northern Kenya. So I left this country in 1991 and went to Switzerland where I got my first Masters. When I finished I decided to pursue a doctorate in the United States but I couldn’t finish because I ran out of money and so they transferred my credits into another Masters,” he said.

The President and Prime Minister have also not yet nominated the three members from the Commonwealth.


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