27 September 2013

Kenya: Chief Justice Complains His Email Account Was Hacked

Nairobi — Chief Justice Willy Mutunga says his email account was hacked into and that the Judiciary has started investigations into the criminal act.

This followed media reports of correspondence between the CJ and five judicial staff touching on the embattled Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Shollei.

The reports alleged that Mutunga and the five exchanged emails as they plotted how to remove Shollei from office.

Mutunga, in his defence, claimed that those behind the hacking have something to hide and is an attempt to hold the Judiciary hostage for financial, political, and administrative interests.

Through a statement sent to newsrooms and signed by the Head of Communication, office of the Chief Justice Kwamchetsi Makokha, Mutunga said, "the matter is criminal and is being investigated."

"For a while now, the Judiciary has been grappling with the vulnerability of its communication, which has manifested itself in hacked e-mail accounts, the tapping of telephones, secret taping of meetings and the doctoring of official documents.

"The prevalence of these surveillance tactics has concerned the institution a great deal," he said in the statement.

Mutunga further explained that it was not the first time that his documents are hacked into saying that he had even reported the matter to authorities.

"In the past, reports have been made to the National Intelligence Service about people hacking into the Chief Justice's Twitter account; and his email account has similarly been hacked in the past."

"Anyone who can hack an email can also doctor documents, and is essentially a criminal who deserves to be dealt with in accordance with the law," he added.

Shollei had earlier on Friday written to the Chief Justice demanding the formation of a public inquiry to clear her name.

Through her lawyer Donald Kipkorir, Shollei told Mutunga that she would take legal action against him if he does not respond to her demands within 24 hours.

"We have in our possession, a trove of correspondence and documents exchanged between and involving a "a war strategy" of yourself, Okello, Makhoha, Justice Ngugi, Bidali and Kabaara," said lawyer Kipkorir in the letter sent to Mutunga.

"In your war strategy, our client is named "Darth Vader", the central character in the original trilogy and sequel trilogy of star wars movies."

Shollei's demand follows reports on a local daily, showing confidential email conversations allegedly held by the CJ and his close associates in which a plan to 'fight' Shollei was outlined.

She wants the public inquiry to include players from the Auditor General, the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission and the Public Procurement Oversight Authority, to look into all the accusations levelled against her.

Shollei further demanded for another public inquest into the conduct of Mutunga, Makokha and four other judicial staff whom she accuses of being behind her predicament.

The Chief Registrar was recently re-instated after suspension by the Judicial Service Commission over impropriety touching on finance, human resources and Administration.

The Judiciary recently wrote to her demanding a detailed explanation on the alleged misappropriation of some Sh1.2 billion at the Judiciary.

The Kenya Judicial Staff Association came out to support Mutunga saying that his email was hacked into.

Chair of the association Sango Maewa said that they read mischief into the allegations as they are a means to shift attention from the impending judicial cases.

"All there is, is a persistent a persistent aggression by a certain office and her small clique of supporters."

"We believe that the aim is to distract attention from the very grave allegations of financial impropriety, abuses in employment and other acts of administrative tyranny," he explained.

Maewa said that the story in a local daily was gotten through unlawful means.

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