, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11 – One of the Deputy Registrars of the Judiciary has been taken to task to explain why he received Sh9 million in allowances yet there is no provision, even when he attended Judicial Service Commission (JSC) meetings on behalf of his boss.
John Tamar was taken to task by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee which wanted to understand why members of various sub-committees and experts were given equal allowances to commissioners.
Tamar had accompanied Commissioner Emily Ominde to the PAC meeting and found himself on the hot seat after it turned out he had been drawing the allowances yet there is no provision in law.
Contrary to what Commissioner Ominde had said, Tamar explained the allowances were agreed on after a resolution by the Finance and Administration Committee and ratified by the JSC.
Ominde however insisted that the payments were made by the then Chief Registrar Gladys Shollei without the knowledge of the commission.
“The finance committee cannot decide on its own to have a meeting; it is the full commission. That’s when we look on the issues raised based on the information we have,” she affirmed.
Ironically, Ominde is the vice-chair of the finance committee but maintained she had no knowledge of the irregular payments being made.
Namwamba had to remind her that she was under oath while giving the information. Members of the committee were consistently called to order after Tamar’s revelation prompted a barrage of questions.
“This is astounding…how could people get allowances without your knowledge yet you are in the finance committee?” one of the members posed.
Namwamba on his part said, “It is shocking that this commission seems to know nothing about what was happening.”
Ominde however defended the JSC saying they were never given enough information by the then Chief Registrar, Shollei, who only handed over raw information in files sometimes.
“I want you to understand the person we were dealing with, we sometime received files put in cartons,” she lamented pointing out that insubordination was part of the reason she was sacked.
She said though their duty is well outlined in the constitution, the former Chief Registrar acted contrary to the law.
“This is absolutely shocking that a secretary overruled whatever decision you reached and made you appear powerless,” Namwamba interjected.
“It is either the commission had eaten Shollei’s goat and had to pay back or there was something else.”
He accused the commissioner of painting a desperate picture yet the law allows the commission to undertake an oversight role in the Judicial Service Commission in the matters of finance.
To justify her defence, Ominde read a letter that was addressed to the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga by Shollei saying she was only answerable to the National Assembly and the National Treasury.
Suba Member of Parliament John Mbadi who is a member of the committee said; “The commission must ensure there is accountability and transparency of how public finances are being used.”
Former Judicial Commissioner Ahmednasir Abdullahi will appear before the committee on Thursday morning.