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Kenya goes ahead to hire new CA board despite pending case

By Frankline Sunday | April 19th 2016

NAIROBI: The Government is recruiting board members to the Communication Authority (CA) to end wrangles at the ICT regulator.

The recruitment comes in spite of a pending appeal case filed by ousted board members seeking to overturn a 2015 ruling that quashed their appointments.

On Friday, Nairobi’s industrial court judge Justice Nelson Abuodha ruled that the appeal was still pending and thus the stay orders were still in force.
Yesterday, CA board chairman Ngene Gituku clarified that Friday’s court ruling did not mean the seven ousted board members were free to return to work as they had earlier alleged.

“The court only ruled that it cannot determine the case since another appeal on the same issue is pending in another court and this does not constitute an order returning them to office,” he said.

Gituku further stated that the appointment of a new board has started and the ousted board members are no longer required to transact business on behalf of the authority.

“Board members are not part of the daily staff of the authority and they are only called upon at specific times in the year when need arises. The appointing authority is the Cabinet Secretary and if there is any order to block the constitution of the board it is to be directed to him... but at the moment we have begun the recruitment,” he said.

The ongoing wrangles come at a busy time in the calendar of the authority, as several new sets of legislation and policy directives are due to be implemented.

One of the anticipated pieces of legislation is the controversial Anti-Dominance Bill shelved last year following objections from several quarters, including leading mobile operator, Safaricom and the competition watchdog, Competition Authority of Kenya.

CA then sought the services of an independent consultant to determine the incidence of dominance in the industry and whether the subsequent dominant players were abusing their dominance.
The findings of the study, estimated to cost Sh30 million, were expected to inform the enforcement of the Fair Competition and Equality of Treatment regulation.

CA Director General Francis Wangusi yesterday stated that the study had been tendered afresh after the initial study failed to meet the requisite bids.

“In the initial call for bids, we only had one firm tendering and given the scale and importance of the study, we need more bids including some from international firms and that is why we will be tendering afresh,” explained Wangusi.

But even after the laws are passed, the telecommunications regulator could find enforcement difficult as new amendments signed late last year redefine the mandate of declaring a firm dominant and acting on firms found to be abusing their dominance.

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