The judiciary paid a retired army captain Sh30 million in April to upgrade security in the homes of judges and other top judiciary officers and staff.The payment of Sh29,934,975 Evans Simiyu Werunga, now the director of the African Centre for Security and Strategic Studies, is among the allegations of fiscal mismanagement made against former Chief Registrar of Judiciary Gladys Shollei.
The Judicial Service Commission on Thursday said the payment was described only as "security upgrade for some judges and senior judicial officers and staff " and had no supporting documents or explanations. The JSC said the payment was not factored in the budget.The upgrade involved the construction of perimeter walls and the installation of electric fences around the private homes of the judiciary staff.Shollei has previously defended herself against the claims that the expense was unauthorised.
"There was no irregular payment. This payment was made in relation to the issue of security concerns of judges and court premises, inter alia, relating election period as discussed by the Assumption of the Office of the President Committee as provided for by the relevant Act," she said.Shollei said she had signed a confidentiality agreement and would require a waiver from the OP to give details of the payment.However, the JSC said they did not require a response from Shollei about the allegations as it "took cognisance" of Section 19 of the Assumption of the Office of the President Act.The Act says that the assumption committee "shall submit a report of its activities to Parliament within one month from the date of swearing-in of the president-elect".
The report that is supposed to contain among other things, the financial statement of the committee, has yet to be presented to Parliament as required by law.Shollei was a member of the committee chaired by former head of civil service Francis Kimemia.The JSC accused Shollei of single sourcing and directly procuring the consultancy services of Werunga, "an entity not known in law".It described the procurement method as "wanting" since there were no supporting documents.
But Shollei once again cited the confidentiality clause which bars her from giving the information demanded.Apart from the security upgrade, Shollei is also accused of single sourcing the installation of a generator and accessories from a company called Kenya Kazi Ltd to the tune of Sh2 million. She said the acquisition of the generator was also related to the security concerns surrounding the election period.
"The CRJ did not establish that procurement procedures were followed in purchasing the generator and that the judiciary received value for money," the JSC said.Shollei was further accused of other incidents of direct procurement including one for the repair of the CJ's parking and the refurbishment of the Supreme Court kitchen at a cost of Sh9.7 million.
Her procurement of computer servers at a cost of Sh54 million is also under question.Staff members adversely mentioned by JSC with regards to Shollei investigations include legal counsel Nicholas Okemwa, secretary Ann Nyokabi, registrars Caroline Kabucho, Kennedy Kandet and officers Crispin Mbugua, Benedict Omollo and Brigid Konga.
Okemwa was accused of benefiting the most from Shollei's term.Shollei is accused of illegally authorising the payment of millions of shillings in perks such as allocating officials vehicles and allowances as well as benefits such as lunch and dinner vouchers to some of her staff which was way beyond their pay grade or position.