CHIEF Justice Willy Mutunga and some Judicial Service Commission members have identified a potential replacement for Gladys Boss Shollei as Chief Registrar of the Judiciary.
Mutunga and the JSC member favour Christine Agimba, currently the Deputy Solicitor General, the Star was informed yesterday by multiple sources. "Should Shollei leave, Agimba is likely to be her successor. Talks are going on," said a senior Judiciary official.
A lawyer by profession, Agimba has previously been in charge of a World Bank funded project in the Treasury called FLSTAP which had a judiciary component.
"She is a very discreet person but loves to work," said a former colleague at the Solicitor General's office yesterday. It is not yet known if Agimba has accepted to join the Judiciary.Judiciary spokesman Naim Bilal yesterday denied the choice of Agimba stating simply "no such info."
Yesterday the Judicial Service Commission was supposed to receive submissions from Shollei regarding the allegations made against her.
However Shollei, through her lawyer Donald Kipkorir, sought some clarifications before she could make her oral submissions. Her first challenge was whether the JSC had jurisdiction to discipline her.
The Chief Registrar of the judiciary is the accounting officer and under the constitution she is answerable to Parliament, Auditor General, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Procurement Oversight Authority.
The power of JSC in disciplining the CRJ is therefore only residual and on referral from these statutory bodies, she argued.However the JSC held that it had the power to interrogate Shollei over corruption allegations, although it did not quote any section of the law.
Shollei had also wanted some JSC members including Ahmednassir Abdullahi, Mohammed Warsame, and Christine Mango to step aside on grounds of bias. She wanted Mutunga to disqualify himself after he did not deny leaked emails that outlined a plan to remove Shollei from office.
After hearing Shollei in camera, the JSC said it acts as a corporate body and therefore personal bias will not arise.The Commission rejected calls by Shollei for her oral submission be heard in public to guarantee transparency "as envisaged by the letter and spirit of the constitution".Shollei also asked the nature of the hearing and was told that it was a disciplinary session.
Her troubles began in August when the JSC accused her of contravening procurement and employment laws but she has instead accused commission members of witch-hunting.
The JSC has made 21 accusations against Shollei including alleged financial impropriety in the lease of buildings for judiciary staff and the Court of Appeal.
The JSC asked how the ten year lease of Elgon Place was entered into without valuation. It also wanted to know why the CRJ made payments using foreign currency and an irregular service charge payment of Sh3.3 million. Shollei is expected to appear before the commission again for hearing on Friday.