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Cofek wants KAA board kicked out in hiring dispute

BUSINESS
By Paul Wafula | February 16th 2016

The Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) wants the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) board disbanded for interfering with a recruitment process.

The consumer lobby also wants the Transport ministry to reveal the nature of interference that led to the cancellation of the recruitment of a new airport boss.

In a letter to Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, Cofek — which has sponsored several suits challenging the recruitment process at the airports authority — has demanded a process be initiated to kick the board out of office.

“From the content of the vacancy notice to the recruitment of a shortlisting and interviewing firm, we have legitimate fears and expectations that the KAA Board (as presently constituted) fails the integrity test and can no longer be trusted to deliver on the process,” Cofek Secretary General Stephen Mutoro wrote in the letter seen by The Standard.

This is set to add a new dimension to the recruitment saga at the airport.

It comes at a time when sources have revealed former Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, who chairs the KAA board, had threatened to resign if his name were dragged through the mud unnecessarily.

Big Deals

KAA floats several multi-billion-shilling tenders that have seen interests continue to clash in what has made it a key parastatal for ‘tenderpreneurs’.

The big deals at the airport include the Sh50 billion Greenfield Airport Terminal and duty free shops.

The KAA managing director position fell vacant in June last year after the then boss Lucy Mbugua was pushed out following a passenger bus scandal at the airport.

Mr Macharia cancelled the hiring of a new KAA boss just weeks after he was confirmed as Cabinet Secretary. He cited interference from the board.

“Our legitimate fears and expectations are that forces behind the said ‘interference’ are bound to repeat the same,” Mr Mutoro said.

“On the basis of provisions of Article 35 of the Constitution, we hereby demand that the details of the said ‘interference’ be shared with us immediately. In addition, sufficient mitigation measures on the said ‘interference’ ought to be communicated.”

 

Sources say Karen Korir — who was honoured last year by the Airport Business magazine in its annual Top 40 Under 40 list of aviation professionals — is one of the candidates being considered for the KAA job.

The consumer lobby group now wants a “professional board” to be appointed, adding that the Public Service Commission can be called upon to conduct the recruitment process.

Cofek further argues that according to the official record of KAA board minutes, before nullifying Manpower Services Ltd, the board or sections of it were lobbying for the hiring of Deloitte Kenya to manage the recruitment process, including raising the budget to accommodate the firm.

“Our demand is the firm needs to be disqualified from the second round.”

The lobby group had earlier filed a court petition at the High Court on the hiring process, which was withdrawn after the judge noted that the recruitment had since been stopped.

The lobby says with evident mistrust and a tremendous integrity and credibility crisis, the KAA board that bungled the annulled recruitment process cannot be relied upon to deliver a credible process of recruiting a new KAA boss.

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