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JSC wants Mutunga barred from probe

27 January 2014, 13:57 Millicent Kawii

Nairobi - The Judicial Service Commission JSC wants Chief Justice Willy Mutunga excluded in a case which ten Judiciary employees have moved to court over their redeployment and salary cuts.

While objecting to the inclusion of the Chief Justice in the case, JSC lawyers Paul Muite and Issa Mansur said yesterday Dr Mutunga should be struck out completely as the claimants are employed by JSC.

Senior Counsel Muite said courts should discourage enjoining of persons not involved in matters taken to courts unnecessarily and results to embarrassments.

“We ask to discourage act of enjoining the Chief Justice or any individual wrongfully, it is a practice that should be discouraged unless evidence is tabled,” Mr Muite said.

Mr Muite also said that those involved in wrongfully enjoining persons in suits as in the case of the CJ, if proven so it amounts to a punishable mistake.

“If this court finds there was a mistake in wrongful enjoinment, it a mistake that oughts’ punishment  due to embarrassment, the Chief Justice needs to be struck out of this suit although he is not asking to be compensated in any event,” Mr Muite said.

However the ten  employees who have sued JSC and Dr Mutunga over their redeployment and salary cuts after former chief registrar Gladys Shollei was sacked, claim the Chief Justice was enjoined as a respondent  in his capacity as the CJ and head of judiciary not as an individual.

Through their lawyer Bonface Muumbi, the Judiciary workers who allegedly were forced to take salary cuts last month after the commission claimed they were irregularly recruited by Ms Shollei and that they had no qualifications for the jobs, claim that  in allowing their redeployment and salary cuts after the sacking of their former boss, the CJ acted unilaterally.

They Judiciary employees who were recruited as temporary staff to serve in Mrs Shollei’s office when she took over in August 2011, also claim that their redeployment and salary cut letters are purportedly written by the Chief Justice for the JSC.

The employees, who previously reported to Ms Shollei, argue that the variation in their terms of service contravened labour laws which bar employers from slashing salaries.

They also claim the pay cut will complicate their lives since they had acquired mortgages and bank loans based on their salaries.

They received monthly salaries ranging between Sh160, 000 to Sh581, 000 before they were reduced, in some instances by more than half.

JSC has refuted the claims and says it only regularized their placement and grading to match their qualifications but did not vary their terms.

Lady Justice Linnet Ndolo will make a ruling on whether the Chief Justice’s name would be struck out of the suit on January 31.

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