CJ Mutunga, Shollei in Twitter exchange over Sh300m residence under EACC probe

Wednesday October 22 2014

Members of the National Assembly's Public Accounts Committee inspect a residential house in Runda that was meant to be the official residence of Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on July 2, 2014. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL |

Members of the National Assembly's Public Accounts Committee inspect a residential house in Runda that was meant to be the official residence of Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on July 2, 2014. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By EVELYNE MUSAMBI
More by this Author

Former Judiciary Chief Registrar Gladys Boss Shollei on Tuesday evening took to Twitter to confront her former boss, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, over a house that is the subject of a corruption investigation.

The palatial residence is in the upscale Runda estate and is said to have been bought by the Judiciary in 2013 for Sh310 million, though the transaction was not completed following investigations into its purchase.

On Tuesday, Mr Mutunga declared through his official Twitter account that he has no official residence and that the house under investigation did not belong to the Judiciary.

“I have no official residence. Since my appointment I live in a rented apartment. My house allowance is 100K and is taxed,” stated the Chief Justice.

On Tuesday, Mr Mutunga declared through his official Twitter account that he has no official residence.

On Tuesday, Mr Mutunga declared through his official Twitter account that he has no official residence.

He went on to declare that the house under investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission did not belong to the Judiciary.

“The so-called CJ's house is the subject of corruption investigations by EACC and the Judiciary does not own it!”

ATTACHED A LETTER

Gladys Shollei was quick to attach a letter apparently from the Chief Justice to the former head of Public Service, Francis Muthaura, dated October 27, 2011, requesting an official residence.

“@WMutunga I am extremely shocked at how a respectable member and President of an Arm of Govt would openly lie. Check>,” she tweeted, attaching the letter.

Former registrar Gladys Shollei was quick to attach a letter apparently from the Chief Justice to the former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura.

Former Chief Registrar Gladys Shollei was quick to attach a letter apparently from the Chief Justice to the former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura,

Some social media users reacting to the Mutunga-Shollei exchange questioned how a request letter would be proof that the CJ has an official residence.

Michael Murumba asked the former registrar, “But @gladysshollei That letter by @WMutunga is just a request for official residence.. not proof that he has one. How is he a liar?”

Ms Shollei responded by tweeting, “@WMutunga 4 months after coming to office on 20/5/11 was already begging/demanding for a residence. If he requested why has he not moved in?”

Among the other people who joined in the discussion was former presidential aspirant Martha Karua, who asked the CJ to explain the house in Runda.

“@WMutunga, what about that house in Runda we are told Judiciary purchased as official residence for CJ?” she questioned.

To this Mr Mutunga responded, “@MarthaKarua. It's the one under EACC investigation. I am sure they could give details.”

The house in Runda was allegedly bought by the Judiciary in 2013 for Sh310 million, but the Chief Justice did not occupy it as it has been under investigation after a scandal emerged over the procurement procedures used to acquire it.

A formal statement to media houses from the CJ's office later on Wednesday said the title of the house had never been transferred to the Judiciary.

"It is important for the public to know that the purchase of a house the Judiciary attempted to acquire for Sh310 million was not completed as the property is under a bank charge. The title has never been transferred to the Judiciary," the statement noted.

According to a series of letters posted by Ms Shollei, the transactions to buy the residence had been completed and a transfer of the property through two law agencies was halted after investigations commenced.