The official residence of the Chief Justice in Nairobi’s Runda estate has been lying unoccupied since it was bought in 2013.
It was bought for Sh310 million of taxpayers’ money and neither Chief Justice David Maraga nor his predecessor Willy Mutunga has lived in it, with Justice Maraga currently residing in his Karen home.
The Sunday Nation visited the premises last Friday and found an almost haunted house.
“A white sentry box at the first gate appeared like it was longing for the day all its pillars will finally give in so that it can collapse to the ground for a much-awaited rest.
“Bougainvillea and other flower species were sprouting into the street leading to the house, providing a metaphor of a haunted address,” reported the local daily.
“Nobody lives there. I just see two officers come and go every day,” a gardener in a neighbouring home said.
So, why would Maraga and his predecessor be uninterested in the palatial bungalow that boasts a swimming pool and other amenities?
Well, the house was allegedly bought under controversial circumstances.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) investigated the matter and later recommended charges against former Judiciary Registrar Gladys Shollei and seven other people for failure to comply with procurement laws when buying the house.
Last week, the charges against Shollei, former deputy chief registrar Kakai Kissinger, Martin Otieno Okwata(former Director of Supply Chain Management), Benedict Abonyo Omollo (former Director of Finance) and tender committee members Wycliffe Wanga Ombunde, Nicholas Muturi Okemwa, Nicholas Mbeba and Thomas Oloo Atak, were dropped.
Senior principal magistrate Felix Kombo allowed the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko the withdrawal of the case under Section 87a of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The office of the DPP had sought to withdraw the matter under section 87(a) of the CPC.
The DPP argued that by the time the accused were being investigated and charged, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) was not properly constituted, hence, could not have effectively investigated the alleged offences.
Now that Shollei is off the hook, it remains to be seen whether Maraga will take up residence at the house along Runda Drive that was bought from former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama.