, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19 – The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has sent the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Shollei on compulsory leave as it investigates allegations of malpractice levelled against her.
The commission’s Finance and Administration committee and the Human Resources Management committee have 15 days within which to carry out the investigations.
“Two committees of the JSC will inquire into various allegations of malpractice touching on but not limited to the process of procurement, employment, administration, finance and corporate governance of the Judiciary,” Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said.
While Shollei invited the investigations, she took issue with the commission’s decision to send her on compulsory leave, “I understand that the decision was not unanimous… Whereas the JSC has made its decision, I reserve the right to contest the process and procedure used. I am aware that this might be construed that I have something to hide. I do not.”
Shollei went further and accused some of the commissioners of instigating a witch hunt against her on account of what she termed as her bid to rid the Judiciary of corruption.
“There is no financial impropriety or irregularities in the procurement processes at the Judiciary. In fact since I took office I can tell Kenyans that the Judiciary is the only government institution that has not had an appeal against any of its procurement decisions at the Public Procurement Appeals Tribunal,” she said.
Even so she invited the office of the Auditor General and the Public Procurement Oversight Authority to carry out independent investigations that she was confident would clear her name.
Mutunga however assured her that she will have an opportunity to defend herself once investigations into her conduct as the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary are concluded.
“This process is aimed at establishing the facts and the truth in a manner that protects the rights of all individuals. It will be conducted with fairness, transparency and in a manner that upholds the dignity of the institution and the individual. It is not a political process,” he said.
And while Shollei recognised the CJ’s bid to involve her in the proceedings that preceded the JSC sending her on compulsory leave, she said she was as yet unclear on the exact nature of the allegations levelled against her.
“I can confirm to you that I have not been provided with any particulars forming the basis of this decision. Neither did the JSC give me reasons for arriving at their decision… the reasons I am aware of are those in the media,” she said.
The Deputy Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Kakai Kissinger will step into Shollei’s shoes as investigations are carried out but given obvious division within the JSC itself, it is not a matter that is likely to be easily resolved.