REPUBLIC OF KENYA

THE JUDICIARY

STATEMENT OF THE JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION ON ALLEGATIONS AGAINST THE CHIEF REGISTRAR OF THE JUDICIARY

After two months of a detailed disciplinary process initiated against the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Mrs Gladys Boss Shollei, the Judicial Service Commission met today and reached a decision. It has been a long, tortuous but necessary journey because JSC committed itself to a scrupulous and fair process to inquire into matters of great public interest. In spite of widespread provocation, JSC has deliberately made no public statements in order to protect the process and to respect the decision made earlier by both parties not to try the matter in the media. On August 17, 2013, the JSC resolved to commence investigations into complaints and allegations touching on financial management and governance issues in the Judiciary. The Commission asked the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Mrs Gladys Boss Shollei, to take 14 days’ leave and appointed the Deputy Chief Registrar to act in her place. Although the Chief Registrar filed a petition in the High Court seeking to restrain the Commission from taking any disciplinary action against her, she later elected to withdraw the case on August 30, 2013 without any conditions.
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No settlement was reached, and therefore no consent was recorded before the court and there was no order as to costs. On September 9, 2013, the Judicial Service Commission served the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Mrs Gladys Boss Shollei, with 87 allegations touching on financial and human resource mismanagement, irregularities and illegalities in procurement, and misbehaviour. The CRJ was given 21 days to respond, and a further 18 days for oral submissions on her request. From the outset, this investigation was designed to be neither a witch-hunt nor a whitewash. In her responses, filed on October 1, 2013 and subsequently amended on October 15, Mrs Shollei admitted 33 allegations and denied 38 others. Responses to the balance were equivocal, evasive and contradictory. The price the Commission has paid for such a drawn out process has been deliberate disinformation, distortions and sideshows intended to distract focus from the grave allegations under investigation. There have been numerous allegations of about bias, misconduct and the innuendo of illegality around the payment of allowances on the part of the JSC. In good time, the JSC will engage all the key stakeholders, including Parliament and the public, in detail on these allegations as a form of accountability for the work it does and the remuneration it draws. The JSC has deliberately chosen to avoid any politicisation or sensationalism of what it views as an internal disciplinary process. Following full deliberations, the JSC found many of the responses by the CRJ grossly inadequate and offered her an opportunity to explain the grave allegations against her. On the day of the hearing, the CRJ made a number of objections, which the Commission declined to entertain.
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Having fully appreciated the allegations served on her, and having read the responses, and noting that she elected to appear in person before the Commission, and after in depth interrogation of all issues, it is the unanimous resolution of the Commission that the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary is hereby removed from office with immediate effect for: 1. Incompetence 2. Misbehaviour 3. Violation of the prescribed code of conduct for judicial officers 4. Violation of Chapter 6, and Article 232 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 5. Insubordination In light of the gravity of the issues that inform Mrs Shollei’s removal, the JSC hereby invites the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to commence a root-and-branch investigation of all the matters in issue. The allegations raised against the CRJ are grave and very serious. The financial outlay in the entire corpus of allegations against Mrs Shollei stands at Ksh2.207 billion. She has admitted to 33 allegations in which Ksh1.7 billion of taxpayer funds are at risk or have been lost. She has denied another 38 allegations that have a cost implication of Ksh250 million, while responses for allegations with a financial outlay of Ksh361,000,000 are mixed, flippant and flimsy. In the interest of transparency and public accountability, the JSC has uploaded on the Judiciary Website (www.judiciary.go.ke) the allegations, CRJ’s responses, and the findings that JSC has made on each and every allegation.

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These investigations present an opportunity to launch the rebirth of the Judiciary’s transformation. The transformation agenda is aimed at delivering justice to the people of Kenya, but may very well threaten and dismantle the old and new networks of corruption and patronage. What we have experienced is a transformation moment, and we intend to build on the opportunity this challenge has presented, we shall come out much bolder, stronger, efficient and effective in all spheres of the Judiciary.

DR. WILLY MUTUNGA, D.Jur, SC, E.G.H. CHAIRMAN JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION

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