Court revokes appointment of 38 officers by KPA board

CHRJ filed a case in court challenging the appointment process of 38 KPA senior officers. [iStockphoto]

The High Court has ruled that the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) cannot make appointments or deployments without the approval of the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Monica Mbaru said the appointment of 38 senior officers by KPA board could not be justified.

On April 20, 2022, KPA in its resolution implemented the revised Human Resource (HR) instruments of the port and effected new staff appointments and deployments.

"The decision of the KPA board on April 20, 2022, on the revised HR instruments of the port with regards to new staff appointments and deployments cannot be justified in the absence of the PSC approval," said Justice Mbaru.

The judge ordered the PSC to audit the implementation of the HR instruments of the KPA that affect new appointments and deployments.

"In a nutshell, these constitutional and statutory provisions demonstrate that the PSC is the only body with constitutional authority to approve human resource instruments of State corporations and other State bodies," said Justice Mbaru.

"Any approval of these instruments outside the constitutional threshold is ultra vires," she ruled. 

Justice Mbaru said PSC should make recommendations that ensure appropriate approval.

"This process shall be undertaken within the next six months at the cost of KPA and PSC shall report to the court for adoption as appropriate," ruled Justice Mbaru.

Commission for Human Rights and Justice (CHRJ) filed a case in court challenging the appointment process of 38 KPA senior officers, terming it a contravention of the law.

CHRJ said the resolution by KPA saw few employees benefit from the non-inclusive process in an undeserving way, casting away the traditional career progression and promotion using the competitive recruitment process.

It sought orders to have the court quash and prohibit KPA from implementing the revised HR instruments that affect new staff appointments and deployments.

The plaintiff had filed for a judicial review in which it cited KPA, Attorney General, and Cabinet Secretary Transport CS as respondents while PSC was cited as an interested party.

In his judgment, Justice Mbaru said PSC was the body with the authority to approve HR instruments with regard to appointments and or deployments.