Judicial Service Commission (Kenya)

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The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of Kenya is established under Article 171 of the Constitution of Kenya. The commission has 11 members with the initial team appointed in December 2010.[1][2]

Role[edit]

The Key functions of the JSC are:

  • Recommend individuals to the President for appointment as judges
  • Review and recommend the conditions of service of judges and judicial officers, other than their remuneration and the staff of the Judiciary
  • Appoint, receive complaints against, investigate and remove from office or otherwise discipline registrars, magistrates, other judicial officers and other staff of the Judiciary, in the manner prescribed by an Act of Parliament
  • Prepare and implement programmes for the continuing education and training of judges and judicial officers
  • Advise the national government on improving the efficiency of the administration of justice.

Membership[edit]

The current membership of the JSC is as follows:[3]

Notable Events[edit]

Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice Interviews[edit]

The first high profile actions carried out by the newly appointed JSC were public interviews for the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice positions in May 2011. The Commission nominated lawyers Willy Munyoki Mutunga and Nancy Baraza for the positions of Kenya's Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice respectively.[4] The names were forwarded to President Mwai Kibaki, who then submitted them to Parliament after consultation with the Prime Minister Raila Odinga [5] where they were approved.

Supreme Court Judge Interviews[edit]

The Judicial Service Commission, interviewed 25 applicants and in June 2011 nominated 5 Justices to the Supreme Court of Kenya.

Baraza-Kerubo Village Market Incident[edit]

In January 2012, the Judicial Service Commission formed a sub-committee to investigate reports [6] that Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza assaulted a security guard at the Village Market shopping mall on 31 December 2011.[7] The JSC subsequently recommended her suspension to President Mwai Kibaki and requested the President to appoint a tribunal to investigate her conduct in line with Article 168 (4) of the Constitution.[8] After her suspension,[9] a commission formed to investigate her conduct recommended her removal from office.[10] On 18 October, she subsequently resigned after withdrawing her supreme court appeal of the tribunal's verdict.[11]

2012-2013 Deputy Chief Justice Recruitment[edit]

The vacant position of Deputy Chief Justice was advertised by the Commission (JSC)on 9 November 2012. The JSC however re-advertised because it was dissatisfied by the number of applicants. The position subsequently attracted applications from 17 women and one man.[12] Those shortlisted for the position were:[13]

The justices who failed to make the short-list were Roselyn Nambuye, Fatuma Sichale, Fatuma Sichale, Wanjiru Karanja, Grace Wangui Ngenye, Ruth Sitati, Helen Omondi, Hannah Okwengu and Mary Ang’awa. On 22 February 2013, the JSC announced that after completing the interviews it had nominated Court of Appeal Judge Kalpana Rawal. There will however be a longer wait for the next steps in the process as the current parliament completed its term and the next Parliament is to be elected during the March general Election. The new parliament will then form departmental committees including the one on Justice and Legal Affairs which will then vet her suitability for the office.[14]

JSC Versus Gladys Boss Shollei Saga[edit]

Background[edit]

On August 17, 2013, the JSC,in a meeting in Mombasa(while Gladys Boss Shollei was away in a trip in Canada) resolved to commence investigations into complaints and allegations touching on financial management and governance issues in the Judiciary.
The Commission asked the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Mrs Gladys Boss Shollei, to take 14 days’ leave and appointed the Deputy Chief Registrar to act in her place.
Although the Chief Registrar filed a petition in the High Court seeking to restrain the Commission from taking any disciplinary action against her, she later elected to withdraw the case on August 30, 2013 without any conditions.
On September 9, 2013, the Judicial Service Commission served the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Mrs Gladys Boss Shollei, with 87 allegations touching on financial and human resource mismanagement, irregularities and illegalities in procurement, and misbehavior. The CRJ was given 21 days to respond, and a further 18 days for oral submissions on her request.

Allegations against Gladys Boss Shollei[edit]

  1. Incompetence
  2. Misbehaviour
  3. Violation of the prescribed code of conduct for judicial officers
  4. Violation of Chapter 6, and Article 232 of the Constitution of Kenya,2010
  5. Insubordination

Counter Accusations Against JSC[edit]

  1. Shollei accused the JSC members of witch-hunting. Shollei said she had a difficult working relationship with lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, Appeal Court judge Mohammed Warsame and chief magistrate Emily Ominde.
  2. Shollei accused JSC members of receiving KShs 128 million in allowances in numerous unnecessary JSC meetings since 2011 at a rate of kshs 80,000 per sitting.

Leaked Chief Justice Emails "War Strategy: The 31-Point Plan"[edit]

On 27 September 2013, Standard Newspaper published a trove of email correspondence between Mr Mutunga and the four-person team he has created as his hand-picked personal staff.
According to the documents, the “war plan” was to be executed within 21 days starting from September 22, climaxing on October 1 when Mr Mutunga will call a full JSC meeting, dubbed the “Day of the Transformational Blood-Bath”, as point number 16 of the plot, the CJ was to impress upon the JSC to have Mrs Shollei dismissed or suspended.
The Chief Justice never denied the emails instead claimed his email account has been hacked.

Dismissal of Gladys Boss Shollei from Office[edit]

On October 18, 2013, JSC met in Supreme Court and resolved to remove the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary from office after failing to honor appearance to give an oral defense. [15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Team to drive new law implementation formed". Daily Nation. December 30, 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "JSC nominates five for Kenya Supreme Court". Daily Nation. June 15, 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Judicial service Commission::Republic of Kenya". Judicial service Commission. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Lawyer Mutunga nominated for CJ post". Daily Nation. May 13, 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Kibaki, Raila endorse JSC nominees". Daily Nation. May 16, 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  6. ^ Telewa, Muliro (4 January 2012). "Kenyan senior judge Nancy Baraza in security guard row". BBC. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "JSC forms sub-committee to probe Baraza". Daily Nation. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "JSC wants Baraza out". Daily Nation. January 13, 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "Suspended Baraza to face tribunal". Daily Nation. January 25, 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "Tribunal calls for Deputy CJ Baraza's ouster for gross misconduct". August 6, 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "Baraza resigns, withdraws appeal". Daily Nation. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "17 women, one man apply for Baraza job". The Star. 12 January 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Five shortlisted for deputy CJ’s job as top judges lose out". Business Daily. January 23, 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "JSC nominates Rawal for deputy CJ post". Business Daily. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  15. ^ http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000097216&story_title=Kenya-how-commission-shollei-war-kicked-up-storm-in-judiciary

External links[edit]