I will open up CBK for public scrutiny, says board chair nominee Musangi

Andrew Mukite Musangi, nominee for the position of Central Bank of Kenya board chairman, before a joint sitting of finance committees of the National Assembly and Senate at the Mini Chambers of Parliament in Nairobi on September 12, 2022. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Nominee for Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) board chairman Andrew Musangi has made opening up the institution for public scrutiny, ensuring transparency in its operations and employing best practices in its management his priority areas if approved.

Among others, Musangi told a joint sitting of finance committees of the National Assembly and Senate he will have parliament oversight of the CBK. 

"Given that institutions that receive funding from CBK are being oversighted by parliament, I don't see any problem being oversighted by the legislature. It is just good practice," Musangi told the two committees chaired by Kuria Kimani (National Assembly) and Ali Roba.

He added: "I will seek to open up the CBK to oversight by parliament, including on matters such as Appropriation-in-Aid projected at Sh 463.5 billion for the financial year ending in June 2024." 

Musangi, who said he is worth Sh.1.18 billion, said: "One of my first assignments if I am approved, will be to sensitize the board on the importance of having the bank oversighted by parliament since we are a public institution that should be accountable to Kenyans.”

The nominee said that even though CBK is expected to maintain its independence, there is still a  need for it to be accountable since the funds it controls belong to the public who expect proper management and use of the money.

"For the local and international community to have confidence in the CBK, I understand that the bank must have well-organized structures that are open to public scrutiny. If I am successful, I will ensure this is achieved during my tenure," said Musangi.

He told the lawmakers that he would ensure that he maintains a register of the interests of all board members. "With this, we will ensure that when a member has an interest in a matter, they can immediately recuse themselves from it to ensure fairness."

“I will also prioritise dealing with fraudulent bank withdrawals by strengthening CBK banking fraud investigations unit to ensure Kenyans’ funds are protected. We will also strengthen the bank's supervisory mandate to ensure immediate resolution of any complaint received,” said Musangi.

He said some of the monetary policy interventions he will put in place to strengthen the shilling will be to create investor policies to attract direct foreign investments while supporting export businesses and creating a stable tax environment.

Musangi also said it is important for Kenyans to deal with corruption which has massively contributed to the country's debt burden. "The loans the country is receiving are being misused, in the process, putting the country in a precarious position. Kenya is servicing loans whose value cannot be seen."

He told the joint committee that he had offloaded his shares in financial institutions to avoid a conflict of interest. This way, he said, he will be able to perform his duties without any form of biases or favouritism."  

“I believe that I have the necessary experience to serve as the chairperson of the CBK, with experience in monetary, financial banking and commerce through years of interaction with diverse sectors of the economy, from manufacturing, financial and development institutions,” said Musangi.

The nominee told the committee that he is conversant with banking operations having served in various organisations as an advisor to their boards, which he said prepared him adequately to serve in the position.

Musangi said he is not affiliated to any political party having resigned from Jubilee Party where he played a crucial role in the 2017 presidential campaigns. He said he was not actively involved in the 2022 General Election.

The joint committee will be going for a retreat to write its report which will be tabled in parliament next week for adoption or rejection by members of both houses.