, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 10 – “Sometime I would ask them, what has that to do with the investigations? They were just asking some questions that are meaningless, so that they can fill in their time and look like they came to work,” former Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Boss Shollei said after her session with EACC detectives over the ‘Chickengate’ scandal.
Shollei had been summoned to provide information on her role as the Chief Electoral Officer at the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC), a case she says she probed on her own, two years ago.
- The Southwark Crown Court in London jailed the two officials of the UK security printing after they were found guilty of bribing IIEC officials.
- Nicholas Smith and his father Christopher are serving about three years in jail for their involvement in the corruption scandal involving top managers of the defunct IIEC.
“I did explain to them that when the story was first highlighted in 2014, I did write to the Serious Fraud Office and they promptly wrote back to me and confirmed that I was neither a co-conspirator nor an accused person,” she said.
“In fact I was telling EACC that I am two years ahead of them…I carried out my own investigation. They are two years late.”
“Why did they have to wait for two years to start investigation?,” she wondered,
She told journalists that the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, after her inquiry went ahead to provide a list of the people involved in the scandal.
Shollei went on to explain that during her tenure at the defunct electoral commission, she was only involved in “election operations, voters registration and voter education.”
Issues of finance, procurement and human resources, she said were under the commission’s Chief Executive Officer.
The EACC detectives were keen to know from her if she played any role in the rip-off that occurred when she served at the Interim Independent Electoral Commission.
They specifically wanted to know why she had signed some two purchase documents but Shollei explained that “I signed on behalf of the CEO when he was out of the country.”
She called on the commission to work professionally while dealing with corruption in the country, saying they are even yet to scratch the surface.
“So far what the secretariat has been doing is to check the procedural errors and managerial discretion that they do not agree with. They have not been fighting economic crimes,” she said.
The first step in fighting corruption, she advised, is understanding corruption itself.
“EACC has to begin to understand what corruption means, it is using your office to benefit yourself personally,” she pointed out. “They are not internal auditors neither are they managers.”
According to Shollei, EACC only wanted to impress President Uhuru Kenyatta after the 60 day ultimatum issued to act on the list of shame.
“A lot of innocent people are being dragged here to protect the real corrupt people,” she asserted.
“They were parading people in court to show they are fighting corruption while in fact they are not. They have not even begun to scratch the surface.”
She lamented that there were many Kenyans “just like in my case” being summoned at EACC on fake charges.
“I will not stop saying this until this commission is overhauled,” she affirmed. “I have never, ever been involved in corruption and impropriety or malpractices in my life.”
On February 19, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission announced that it was processing documents received through mutual legal assistance from the United Kingdom on the ‘chicken’ scandal.
EACC Chairman Philip Kinisu said the files arrived late January and investigations were at advanced stage ahead of recommendations in a period of two to three weeks.
The new information will help ascertain whether the officials from the defunct Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) linked to the UK corruption scam, were indeed guilty.