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JSC grills law officer over failure to automate unit

By | July 20th 2011 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Isaiah Lucheli

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) grilled a senior officer in the State Law Office in camera during the ongoing judges interviews.

The commission’s acting chairperson, Christine Mango, asked the media and members of the public to leave the venue of interviews, saying there were complaints lodged by the public against the Registrar General, Bernice Wanjiku, that she needed to respond to.

Bernice Wanjiku, the Registrar General at the State Law office, when she appeared before the Judicial Service Commission in Nairobi, on Tuesday. Photo: Pius Cheruiyot/Standard

“There are several complaints that have been brought before the commission and I would like you to respond to them. Can the Press vacate the room and switch off your recording gadgets,” Mango, who represents the public in the commission, said.

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Before the closed-door interview, Wanjiku had been put to task over her record in the six years she has served in the office.

Commissioner Abdulahi Ahmednasir raised concern over the disappearance of files at the company’s registry, the amount of money collected by the organisation and what was hampering fully automation of the registry.

“Has the disappearance of files reduced? For the past eight years you have been promising to automate the registry. What is difficult in automating it? Do you register a million companies every year?” posed Ahmednasir.

The registrar explained that cases of the disappearance of files had stopped following the scanning of files and automating part of the filing system.

“We have scanned files and hard copies. This makes it easy to retrieve a file on demand. The only files that are not kept in the registry are sensitive ones,” she said. Wanjiku explained that the State Law Office generated over Sh100 million annually, but the money could not be used directly to automate the registry since it is handed over to the Exchequer.

Property law

“If the money we generated would have been ploughed back, we would have completed the automation of the registry. We have, however, to contend with annual allocations,” Wanjiku told the panel.

She noted that interference of the operations of the registrar general’s work by the courts had impeded discharge of justice.

“The biggest challenge is the land buying companies whose officials move to court to bar the Registrar general from ordering elections. We have chairmen who want to cling on to leadership all their lives,” she said.

Wanjiku added that lack of intellectual property law had made many patents that would otherwise have been registered in the country to be registered in other countries.

Judicial Service Commission registrar of companies
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