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Integrity issues stalk appointment of Mzalendo Kibunjia to directorate of National Museums of Kenya

By Nzau Musau | April 19th 2015

Kenya: The appointment of Mzalendo Kibunjia (right) to the directorate of the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) has generated a lot of questions following revelations that he may not have been cleared by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

It has also emerged that there may have been multiple cases of conflict of interests in board members who shortlisted candidates and conducted interviews for the position. Although Dr Kibunjia was appointed on February 20 by Sports and Culture CS Hassan Wario, his appointment was backdated to February 16.

A few days later on February 24, EACC wrote to the board saying it had pending issues with the outspoken Kibunjia but had no issues with the other two candidates. The new NMK director general, however, says he is not aware of any objections to his candidacy. “I do not know anything about that. Nobody has ever told me anything about that.

I have nothing pending anywhere,” Kibunjia said in reference to the EACC letter. The matter at hand involves surrender of imprests amounting to Sh250,000 to his former employer, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC). The matter has since been raised by the Auditor General and taken up by the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly.

During the recruitment of Principal Secretaries in 2013, EACC wrote to the Public Service Commission (PSC) saying it was investigating 32 individuals, among them Kibunjia, for abuse of office. NCIC CEO Hassan Mohamed told The Standard on Sunday that indeed Kibunjia had a pending matter of imprests. He said the matter was raised by PAC and Kibunjia agreed to pay back the money.

Several board members are also said to have been inclined to some of the candidates. In the final shortlist, Kibunjia came second. Position one went to Dr Helida Oyieke while position three went to Dr Kenneth Ombongi. Dr Oyieke sits in the executive committee of Nature Kenya alongside Fleur Ng’weno, a member of the NMK board which interviewed her.

Ombongi and Prof Ephraim Waweru, another member of the board, are both history scholars at the University of Nairobi. Ombongi, the principal of Utalii College, comes from the same parent ministry of Tourism with Muriithi Ndegwa, another board member.

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