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Court hands ousted Communications Authority of Kenya board members reprieve

BUSINESS
By Frankline Sunday | April 18th 2016

Ousted Communications Authority of Kenya board members were last week handed a reprieve.

This is after the Industrial Court in Nairobi ruled to keep them in office pending hearing of their appeal. The latest turn in the legal battle that has besieged the country’s ICT regulator now complicates operations at the authority since the board members have failed to agree on several crucial issues.

On Friday, Industrial Court Judge Nelson Abuodha ruled that ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru could not recruit a new board of directors since an appeal contesting the ouster of the existing board was still pending.

“The court declines jurisdiction to entertain the present petition for the reason that the dispute is essentially and substantially the same as the issue decided by the High Court and which is subject of an appeal pending in the Court of Appeal,” read Justice Abuodha’s ruling in part.

In October 2014, the Secretary General of the ICT Association of Kenya, Kamotho Njenga, filed an application in court challenging the legality of the constitution of the board and the recruitment panel.

Mr Njenga sued the authority, then ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, and the seven new board members; Wilbert Kipsang Choge, Kennedy Monchere, Grace Mwendwa, Levi Obonyo, Helen Kinoti, Beatrice Opee and Peter Munywoki.

 Application Rejected

In his suit, Njenga argued that the servers used by the selection panel to receive applications could not handle the large number of applications coming in resulting in his application being rejected. In May last year, High Court Judge George Odunga ruled the selection process was flawed on technicalities presented and quashed the gazette notice on the appointment of the CA board of directors sending home the seven board members.

The seven, however, led by Kipsang Choge lodged an appeal which has now temporarily assured their stay in office.

In February, business at the regulator’s Waiyaki Way-based office came to a standstill as ousted board members faced off with Administration Police who had been called in to prevent them from forcing a meeting.

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