MPs drop probe into Shollei suspension

August 29, 2013 3:11 pm
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The committee chairman Samuel Chepkonga however said they will concentrate their probe on issues touching on the purchase of buildings and other materials acquired by the Judiciary in Nairobi and Malindi/FILE
The committee chairman Samuel Chepkonga however said they will concentrate their probe on issues touching on the purchase of buildings and other materials acquired by the Judiciary in Nairobi and Malindi/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 29 – The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly has suspended its probe on the controversial suspension of the Chief Registrar of Judiciary Gladys Shollei.

The committee chairman Samuel Chepkonga however said they will concentrate their probe on issues touching on the purchase of buildings and other materials acquired by the Judiciary in Nairobi and Malindi.

He said they stopped the probe after getting a letter from the Judicial Service Commission Registrar Winfred Mokaya stating that it will be against the doctrine of separation of powers and the rules of sub-judice for the commissioners to appear before the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee.

Committee Vice-Chairperson Priscilla Nyokabi said they had the mandate to oversight JSC and will continue investigating misappropriation of public funds.

“Judiciary is not invited here as the organ that decides cases, they are invited here as matters on administration as any other commission and therefore the issue of separation of powers does not arise in this case,” Nyokabi said.

“We intend to look at how public funds are spent in the Judiciary either through the conduct of JSC or through the conduct of Madam Shollei or any other officer.”

Chepkonga said the House team will continue investigating the controversies behind the procurement of a building in Mombasa to house the Court of Appeal, acquisition of Judiciary vehicles and the status of the Milimani Law Courts.

“That is a matter that this committee will continue to look into it, and this committee will be having a separate sitting to discuss and deliberate on that matter. The JSC will be invited to appear here again so that we can consult further on this other matters that touch on public expenditure,” he said after chairing the committee sitting in which the JSC was expected to attend, but failed to turn up.

Shollei took her case before the parliamentary committee after she was suspended for two weeks to facilitate investigation into allegations of impropriety levelled against her.

It is on this basis that House team decided to summon the JSC to explain their decision.

During her testimony before the House team, the Chief Registrar clarified that the Judiciary had not purchased any building in Mombasa as alleged.

She said the Judiciary was still scouting for a suitable building to house the Court of Appeal; this is after lawyers had complained over the current location of the court in Malindi, which she explained was purchased before her tenure.

On Thursday, Shollei and the JSC reached an out-of-court settlement, paving way for her to resume her duties.

On the issue of constructions at the Milimani Courts, the House team will be looking into complaints about the building over issues such as substandard Internet and telephone connectivity as well as problems with the ceiling which had at one time caved in.

Shollei had told the committee that sub-contractors working on the building had agreed to correct the error with no additional cost to the Judiciary, at a cost of Sh230 million and not Sh1 billion as alleged.

The Chepkonga-led committee will also look into the purchase of vehicles for newly recruited judges stating that it was the policy of the Judiciary to purchase Mercedes Benz cars for judges.

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