KeNHA chairman wants case against appointment dropped

EACC Chairman Arch (Rtd) Eliud Wabukala has a word with Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) chairman Wangai Ndirangu during a joint meeting on corruption at the Lake Naivasha Resort. [File, Standard]

Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) board chairman Wangai Ndirangu has urged the court to dismiss a case challenging his appointment by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

In his reply to a petition filed by lobby group Sheria Mtaani, Wangai argued that the case was filed too late in the day and does not raise any irregularities for the Employment and Labour Relations Court to intervene.

The President appointed Wangai on November 12, 2019. However, the case to have the appointment quashed was filed this year.

According to Wangai, the appointment was done within the law adding that the case was filed to achieve ulterior motives.

"The applicant (Sheria Mtaani) has not demonstrated a prima facie case with any likelihood of success. There has been inordinate delay in filing this matter and the applicant is guilty of laches, and therefore not deserving the equitable reliefs sought,” argued Wangai.

In the case, Sheria Mtaani claimed that by the time Wangai was being appointed, he was at that time an employee of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Jkuat).

The civil society group argues that it was against the law. According to the lobby group, KeNHA’s law provides that a chairperson should not be a public officer by the time he or she is appointed by the president.

“Wangai Ndirangu was at the time of his appointment and is still employed by JKUAT in Civil Engineering Department. This means he is a public officer. By the virtue of his position, he is not qualified to serve on the board of KeNHA in any capacity,” argued the lobby’s lawyer Dorcas Mwae.

Consequently, Sheria Mtaani wants the court to order the engineer to vacate the office and order a new person to take up the position. But Wangai asserts the lobby has not disclosed any law that has been infringed.

“The appointment of the first interested party by the President of Kenya, as the board chairman of the second respondent (KeNHA) was done in compliance with the provisions of sections 5 (1) (a) and 5 (2) of the Kenya Roads Act no. 2 of 2017,” he replied.

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