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Former Capital Markets boss takes executive post at ICEA

By Frankline Sunday | October 2nd 2020 at 02:00:00 GMT +0300

New ICEA Lion General Insurance Chief Executive Paul Muthaura. [File, Standard]

Former head of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) Paul Muthaura has taken up the top job at ICEA Lion General Insurance. 

In a Press statement yesterday, the company said Mr Muthaura would succeed Steven Oluoch, who had served in the position for the past eight years. 

“We thank Steven for the loyal and committed service he has provided to our group and the insurance sector in Africa and take this opportunity to wish him well as he embarks on this new chapter in his life,” said ICEA Lion Group Chairman James Ndegwa.

Muthaura, who acted as CMA chief executive for four years then served as CEO for a three-year term till December last year, was also the head of legal framework and enforcement.

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Mr Ndegwa also chairs the board of directors at the CMA.

The appointment of Muthaura as the chief operating officer for ICEA Lion’s general insurance business last April came hot on the heels of a suit by activist Okiya Omtatah challenging the boardroom composition at the markets regulator. 

In the case filed at the Milimani law courts and due for mention in a few weeks, Omtatah sued the President, Public Service Commission, State Corporations Advisory Committee, Attorney General and the CMA board for improper appointment and conflict of interest.

Autonomy

“It is clear that to execute its all-important mandate as an impartial regulator of an emerging sector, it is necessary that the board of the CMA is appointed strictly according to the Constitution and national legislation to ensure its autonomy from vested interests so that all players in the industry can have the full benefit of the law,” states Omtatah in his petition filed in January.

Some of the insurance company’s businesses that are regulated by CMA are ICEA Unit Trust Scheme, which had funds under management worth Sh8 billion by end of June. 

This is subdivided into ICEA Money Market Fund, ICEA Equity Fund, ICEA Growth Fund and ICEA Bond Fund.

Another one is the ICEA Lion Asset Management, as both a fund and Real Estate Investment Trust manager.

President Uhuru Kenyatta reappointed Ndegwa to the CMA chair in March 2018 for a three-year term, a move the Omtatah petition says lacked transparency and public participation.

“The first respondent simply handpicked and appointed the chairperson and the six independent members of the board contrary to the law, which requires that public office be filled through a transparent, competitive, inclusive and merit-based recruitment process open to public participation,” the petition reads.

Omtatah wants the court to quash the appointment of Ndegwa and directors John Birech, Freshia Mugo-Waweru, George Moibi, Thomas Kibua, Christine Okoth and Peter Mungai.

Ndegwa is also the chairman of First Chartered Securities that owns ICEA Lion and a 12 per cent stake in NCBA, both regulated by the CMA.  

In a reply to the petition filed in May by Waweru Gatonye and Company Advocates on behalf of the board of directors, the CMA wants the case thrown out for lack of jurisdiction.

“This honourable court lacks the requisite jurisdiction to hear and determine the petition in light of the provisions of Article 162 of the Constitution,” states the reply.

“The petition touches on the powers of the President and the Cabinet secretary for the National Treasury and Planning to appoint and remove the chairman and board members of the Capital Markets Authority.”

CMA says the petition is misconceived and improperly lodged before the court.


Capital Markets Authorit Paul Muthaura ICEA Lion CMA
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