, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 17 – The Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Shollei on Thursday attributed her tribulations within the Judiciary to the fact that she blew the whistle on the misuse of funds.
Shollei explained that the stalemate between her and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was a result of questioning stupendous allowances paid out to the members.
“The issue of allowances has been the cause of all the trouble I have been in whilst at the Judiciary. This is after I raised the issue that the JSC have no part to play in matters related to finances yet they insist on their involvement in financial management.
“They have gone a step further and created a financial sub-committee chaired by Commissioner Ahmednasir (Abdullahi) who without consultation approves payments,” she explained.
She told the Parliamentary Budget Committee that she has on a number of occasions been forced to dance to their tune saying, “I have sometimes let it happen just to save my job making sure not to make enemies.”
Shollei elaborated her remarks sighting an example of a non-official trip by the JSC commissioners which forced her office as the account director to dig into other kitties.
“Director of finance appeared before the JSC who demanded money for a trip and when he reported that there was no money; they threatened him saying that he would lose his job. Eventually we had to pull money meant for training of judges to cater for the commissioners’ trip,” she added.
Shollei accused the Judicial Service Commission of exercising high-handedness in their leadership to extort money.
“When I wrote to the JSC telling them to avoid involving themselves in financial management I got a response from Commissioner Ahmednasir who said that he has residual powers,” she alleged.
She raised concern over the spending saying that it is not practical and that it is digging far into their budgetary allocation.
She adds that the JSC has had over 500 sittings some of which she told the committee did not deserve the allowances.
The committee asked the registrar to give a breakdown of the expenditure of the commission and she said,” the sitting allowances total to a staggering amount of money as members earned between Sh1.9 million and Sh17 in allowances for sittings from 2011 to 2013.
“Further breaking down would indicate that with each sitting, the commission members earn between Sh20,000 and Sh80,000.”
She said that they have engaged the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) noting that at the time when the allowances were decided before its existence.
“The Public Service commission was given the mandate to stipulate the salaries and the allowances before the formation of the SRC. The amounts were pegged to the assumption that the number of the meetings would not be frequent and is yet to be reviewed by the salaries commission,” she explained.
“However some members of the JSC raised an issue with the high amounts paid out pushing for the establishment of a standard remuneration in the allowances,” Shollei added.
She further said that she raised the issue with the Chief Justice as required by the Constitution but that no action was taken.
“I raised my concerns with the Chief Justice both verbally and in a letter and he did not respond to the letter. The only communication I received from him is that he is not a headless head of the Judiciary therefore I cannot advice him,” she said.
Shollei has faced a myriad of problems at the Judiciary after the JSC in August sent her on compulsory leave over allegations of abuse of office and misappropriation of funds.
She returned to work but is on Friday expected to appear before the commission to begin her defence on the allegations.
Shollei’s lawyer Donald Kipkorir in a letter to the Chief Justice said that they are yet to receive communication from the CJ’s office about regarding their application for recordings from Disciplinary Proceedings.
In his letter, Kipkorir says that the recordings are important as they will enable them prepare for tomorrows’ hearings before the commission.
He added, “in the foregoing we will not be able to offer our defence to the commission as we have not been given time as stipulated by the Constitution to prepare. It is a right or client demands not a favour, we therefore apply for adjournment tomorrow,” Kipkorir wrote.