7 June 2014

Kenya: EACC Says It's Probing Shollei After CJ's Letter

Photo: Capital FM
Suspended staff admit there were irregularities at the Judiciary (file photo).

THE Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission has confirmed that it is investigating former Judiciary Chief Registrar Gladys Shollei. On October 31 last year Chief Justice Mutunga wrote to EACC chairman Mumo Matemu after Shollei had been dismissed.

He requested that Shollei be investigated for theft, fraud, unjust enrichment, abuse of office and falsifying of documents. At the time a report by the Judicial Service Commission claimed that Shollei had caused losses of Sh2.2 billion while she was Chief Registrar. Shollei has vociferously denied the allegations and said that all her actions were approved in advance by the JSC.

Next week Mutunga is expected to brief a parliamentary committee on the case. Yesterday, Matemu declined to reveal the status of the investigation

"It is not about Shollei, it is about financial mismanagement in the judiciary. At the point where the investigations are, we are not in a position to share information," said Matemu.

However other EACC sources told the Star the investigators had completed their investigations but that their findings are yet to be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko.

Mutunga gave the EACC the report on Shollei conducted by the JSC. Entitled 'JSC allegations, CRJ (responses and JSC Findings And Observations A Working Summary', the report claimed that Shollei had taken responsibility for the loss of Sh1.6 billion.

Mutunga told EACC that Shollei admitted 33 allegations of financial mismanagement and denied 38 others during the probe by the JSC last year.

The letter was copied to Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko, and Auditor General Edward Ouko.

The Judiciary expenditure that caused controversy last year included a Sh32.4 million deposit paid to Rahimtula premises for the lease of a building which Shollei said would have been recovered at the end of the tenancy.

The JSC also claimed that Shollei delegated accounting duties to an accounts officer Nicholas Okwemwa. On Thursday Shollei appeared before the parliamentary committee and denied any fraud at the Judiciary during her tenure.

Some MPs led by Ababu Namwamba accused her of sleeping on her job and insisted that she should take responsibility. Suna East MP Junet Mohammed said the Judiciary was "operating like a marketplace."

"No matter how much flowery language you use, you can't escape responsibility," Junet said She was questioned by MPs over the leasing of Elgon Place, a building in Upper Hill, Nairobi, designated for the Court of Appeal on which Sh70 million was spent but which was never occupied.

Shollei explained that the building was identified after a competitive process but the judges refused to occupy it. The CJ eventually allowed them back into the old Supreme Court building.

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