Former Chief Registrar Gladys Shollei questioned on procurement scam

Former Judiciary Chief Registrar Gladys Boss Shollei (right) with her husband Sam Shollei when she appeared before the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officers yesterday. [PHOTO: WILLIS AWANDU/STANDARD]
NAIROBI: Former Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Shollei was yesterday grilled by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission over alleged procurement irregularities.

Ms Shollei had been summoned to answer to four main issues, among them alleged irregularities in procurement of Judiciary property including the residence of the Chief Justice (CJ).

She was also questioned about direct procurement of goods and services for repair works at the CJ's parking lot and kitchen refurbishment for the Supreme Court at Sh9.7 million. It is said the got the services from Arreda Home.

The detectives are also investigating allegations into irregular procurement in the acquisition of Elgon Place office apartments for the Judiciary and the Mavoko Law Courts.

Ms Shollei said the inclusion of her name on the 'List of Shame' presented in Parliament by President Uhuru Kenyatta was disappointing but not surprising.

ECONOMIC CRIMES

She said it had taken the EACC 19 months, and instructions from the President to start the investigations on allegations levelled against her by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

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"JSC made the allegations against me in August, 2013, which culminated in my unlawful and unconstitutional removal from office. I requested the Auditor General, the Public Procurement Oversight Authority and EACC to investigate the allegations but it has taken 19 months to even begin the investigations," she said.

She accused the commission of being biased and selective in conducting its investigations.

"Their list is also selective. It is also curious to note that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Issack Hassan was recently at EACC to record a statement over the 'chicken gate' saga yet he is not listed as being under investigation. I refuse and protest this outright unfairness. Mr Matemu (EACC chairman) confirmed to the Senate that the list was edited," she said.

Shollei said tackling economic crimes cannot be done through a public relations charade.

She maintained being clean of any wrong doing while serving in the Judiciary.

"The Auditor General's report does not reveal loss of any money, any fraud or any corruption. Substantially, the report pointed out internal control weaknesses, which were historical and were being addressed during my tenure," she said.

She accused EACC of trying to play the role of both the Auditor General, and internal auditors in their probe.

She said she is ready to assist EACC in their investigations into the issues being raised and insisted every step of the law was followed by the tender committee.

Shollei maintained that the CJ's house was purchased through an open tender, and that Sh425 million was tendered for but Sh310 million was paid after valuation and price negotiations.

OPEN TENDER

She added that the lease of Elgon Place went through open tender and partitioning was through direct procurement in accordance with the law.

Her husband, Sam, who had accompanied her, said EACC should have closed the file since the Auditor General's report only cited minor internal control weaknesses, which she together with her team members, who were all sacked, were trying to correct.

"Because it (EACC) is poorly led, it does not define what its priorities are. For instance corruption among the police, security agencies and immigration is destroying our nation. Terrorism can be linked to corruption and lack of patriotism amongst Kenyans. What strategies has EACC come up with to deal with corruption in our security agencies?" posed Sam.

Shollei is among more than 200 officials under investigation over corruption-related crimes.

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Gladys SholleiAuditor General