, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 – The Judicial Service Commission has now defended allowances members received for ‘necessary’ meetings, saying each ‘only’ earned Sh56,000 per sitting after taxes.
The commission denied the members earned Sh80,000 as earlier claimed.
“The terms of remuneration for JSC was set by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and not JSC itself.”
It continued: “The high number of meetings has been necessitated by the transformation programme which has seen JSC hire more judges, magistrates and judicial staff that are presently serving the public.”
The JSC says members agreed to serve on a part-time basis and do not therefore earn any salary.
“They do not receive housing or leave allowance, hence the decision of the Public Service Commission of Kenya dated June 8, 2011, to set allowances for transport, airtime, per diem, medical insurance and out of pocket,” the commission argued.
In statement sent to newsrooms, the commission said: “The commission must by law, meet at least once every three months, but as often as necessary to discharge its mandate,” it explained.
The JSC however said the number of meetings was on decrease as the need of hiring more judges, magistrates and judicial staff had decreased.
They JSC insisted the meetings and all allowances are within the law.
The huge allowances came to light at the height of a row with Gladys Boss Shollei, who has since been sacked as Chief Judiciary Registrar.
Shollei has since said that her sacking was premeditated by the JSC members.
Addressing journalists on Monday, Shollei accused the commission of denying her a chance to defend herself.
“The information in the media that I appeared before the commission and defended myself is not true. We never reached that stage because I raised various procedural matters,” she told a news conference.
The JSC announced on Friday that it had reached a unanimous decision to sack Shollei over a Sh2billion scandal coupled with various other forms of impropriety at the Judiciary.
Shollei denied the allegations and instead accused the JSC of declining to bring in expertise from government institutions to probe her.
“None of the JSC members have experience on financial management matters and only one of them has worked in the public service,” she said.
She told journalists that she remains willing and open to be investigated for the public to know the truth.
“I personally welcomed the probe in the interest of transparency. I asked for Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA), Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Internal Auditor General to be engaged in the process as these are the government institutions designated to check financial and procurement management in government but the JSC was not interested,” she said.
Barely hours after her Monday address, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga responded calling her a liar.
In a statement, the CJ who is the JSC Chairman said time has come for the commission to expose the former registrar.
“The commission observes that the smear campaign fuelled by misinformation, distortion and outright lies that characterised the two-month disciplinary process against her continues, time has come for the JSC to begin telling truths about the former Chief Registrar of the Judiciary,” Mutunga said.