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Kenya Ports Authority board set to make key changes

By Willis Oketch | February 9th 2016
Kenya Ports Authority

There was panic at Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) yesterday after a board meeting resolved to make major changes at the parastatal.

But while top managers were gripped by fear, there was muted celebration among the middle and lower cadre workforce at the Mombasa port, which has about 7,500 employees.

A new management structure has been drawn and new officials identified by the board, which is set to make an official announcement soon.

The new changes come a day after The Standard established that the incumbent Managing Director Gichiri Ndua has written to the board saying he wants to leave at the end of his contract in July.

?KPA Board Chairman Marsden Madoka said: “We will consider his letter, which he has written to the board asking to quit the job by July 31 this year.”

Mr Ndua handed over his letter during a meeting of the board of directors chaired by Mr Madoka at KPA headquarters in Kipevu last Thursday.

Reports indicated yesterday that five top officers at the port have been asked to proceed on leave pending termination of their contracts following months of mounting criticism over management of the port that has been rocked by claims of wanton graft, revenue losses, fake certificate scandals and inefficiency.

 Woman Manager

The identity of those forced to go on leave has not been given and Madoka — who chaired a special board meeting — declined to divulge what was discussed. “I am a disciplined man and procedures of confidentiality have to be followed in case of any decision made by the board,” said Madoka.

Sources indicated that the board also discussed Ndua’s succession and identified a woman manager who will act before a new MD is recruited.

?There were also reports that some officials of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in Mombasa and Nairobi have also been asked to go on leave as investigations into misconduct and crimes in revenue collection at the port continue.

“Five top managers of the port have been sent on compulsory leave with immediate effect pending their retirement from the corporation,” said an official in the Transport ministry, who asked not to be named.

He added: “They have been asked to retire early following multiple allegations against them.” He said the State was not happy with their performance and the manner in which a tender for the second container terminal at the port was awarded. Last evening, a senior official in the civil service confirmed that pressure from President Uhuru Kenyatta had piled on the board to restructure the port following the allegations.

Security Lapses

KRA and KPA have been in the news since last month over decrees on the operations of two container freight stations associated with Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho’s family. KPA blocked delivery of cargo to the stations while KRA suspended their licences but the High Court suspended the decrees.

Recently, an audit report exposed massive security lapses and losses attributed to the mismanagement and under-investment in two cargo tracking, billing and port management systems.

?KPA’s databases and employment procedures were brought into question last year after it emerged that records of 1,500 employees could not be found.

Dock Workers Union Secretary General Simon Sang said he would issue a statement on the matter after confirming any changes. ?”I have heard what has happened but I have no comment for now,” he said.

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