NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 7 – The Industrial Court has adjudged that former Chief Registrar of the Judiciary (CRJ) Gladys Boss Shollei is entitled to compensation from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for unlawful removal from office.
Justice Nduma Nderi fell short of directing that she be reinstated as the CRJ following a previous ruling when he declined to suspend the recruitment of a new CRJ, now Atieno Amadi.
“The court quashes the decision of the commission and holds that the petitioner is entitled to compensation for unlawful termination and violation of her constitutional rights,” Justice Nderi ruled.
Shollei’s lawyer Donald Kipkorir later stated.”He (judge) held that the JSC disciplinary proceedings against Shollei are a nullity ab initio for bias and breach of the rules, principles and doctrine of natural justice in the absence of a public hearing.”
And as Nderi found Shollei had been unfairly removed from office, Kipkorir went on to argue that should she be interested, Shollei should be reinstated as CRJ.
“The total sum of the judgment is that Gladys Boss Shollei ought and must resume office if she wants, as her removal has been quashed,” he stated.
Paul Muite who appeared for the JSC also said they would be moving to the Court of Appeal to challenge Nderi’s finding that Shollei was unprocedurally and unconstitutionally removed from the office of the CRJ.
And as Shollei had not specified how much she was seeking in compensation for her wrongful dismissal, she will now have to file a fresh application.
Following her dismissal on October 18, 2013 Shollei moved to the High Court and petitioned her removal from office citing bias.
She said Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and a handful of other judicial officers had been plotting her removal from office long before the JSC alleged it had received complaints of corruption against her.
Justice Nderi faulted the move by CJ Mutunga to chair the disciplinary committee adding that it was unreasonable for the entire commission to insist on investigating Shollei over the alleged allegations.
Justice Nderi held that the CJ was expressly prohibited from sitting on the disciplinary committee of any judicial officer.
“The court fails to understand why the chief justice chaired the panel even after serious allegations of bias were made against him by the petitioner,’ ‘he said.
He added: “The decision to chair the tribunal by the head of the judiciary was wrong and led to miscarriage of justice.”
After being sent on compulsory leave, which she said the JSC had no power to do, she accused them of denying her a public hearing which would accord her an opportunity to clear her name.
Throughout, she maintained that as a public accounting officer she need not answer to the JSC but to Parliament and the Public Procurement Oversight Authority where matters finance and procurement at the Judiciary were concerned.
The JSC in turn accused Shollei of insubordination when she held a press conference as they were deliberating her fate and called them, “unreasonable and reckless.”