Water PS rescinds Coast Water Service Board decision to suspend CEO

Chief Executive Officer CEO Jacob Torutt
MOMBASA, KENYA: Water and Sanitation Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu has rescinded Coast Water Service Board (CWSB) decision to suspend Chief Executive Officer Jacob Torutt.

At the same time the PS has suspended all the board’s settings until a new one is composed accusing it of usurping the Cabinet Secretary’s powers to illegally suspend the CEO.

In a letter on his behalf by the Ministry’s Secretary Administration Joseph Keter, the PS said the board was usurping the Cabinet Secretary’ powers to dismiss the CEO on flimsy excuses.

"There are no weighty matters to warrant convening of Board meeting as allegations leveled against the Chief Executive Officer have not been properly adjudicated," he said.

"The chief executive officer Coast Water Services Board will continue performing his duties as stipulated by the appointing authority," he added. 

He said that the Board was not properly constituted and that Sureya Roble Hersi who acts as the board session chair had no powers to perform the functions of a substantive chair of the board.

Last week, acting board chair Sureya Roble Hersi asked Torutt to step aside accusing him of snubbing members of the Parliamentary Committee on Water and Environment on November 9.

It is not clear why Sureya would discipline a CEO for allegedly not meeting MPs given the fact that parliament has its own mechanism to compel or enforce its sermons against any government official to appear before its committees.

In a letter accused the CEO of neglecting or refusing to implement board resolutions and only worked for two days a week while he was always away with valid reasons.

It did not however state which resolutions had not been implemented but Sureya said the CEO’s action could warrant summary dismissal.  

“The MPs had booked for an appointment with you earlier on of which you had acknowledged and accepted this particular meeting to be held on the afternoon of 9th November 2018. To the disappointment of the legislatures you chose to fly home without meeting them, better still without my permission to leave as it was still working hours (3 pm),” Hersi said in the letter.

The board gave the CEO 14 days to explain why he should not be disciplined.

On Thursday, the PS in a letter signed by Keter said the CEO will remain in office as the board had not notified the CS or even proved that Torutt had erred.

He said the role of the board in terms of complaints against the CEO was to initiate thorough investigations, deliberate on the issues raised, make resolutions and forward to the Cabinet Secretary for further necessary action.

Keter said the allegations levelled against the CEO had not been properly adjudicated.

“In view of the above, the ministry will not sanction any more Board meeting till a new Board is constituted under the Water Works Development Agency,” said Keter.

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Coast Water Service BoardWater and Sanitation Ministry