KBC board ratifies Paul Macharia as acting MD

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) in Nairobi. [Standard,File]

The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) board has confirmed Paul Macharia as the new acting managing director.

 Macharia was appointed by ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo after the former acting boss, Samuel Maina, was sacked.

In a statement, the board chairman, Eng. Benjamin Maingi, said the board ratified Macharia's appointment on December 20, 2023, following a special meeting to address Owalo's concerns.

"Mr. Macharia has extensive experience as the communication economic expert at the National Communications Secretariat. He is poised to make a significant contribution to the ongoing success of KBC," Maingi said.

Maingi assured stakeholders and the public that all actions taken were in the best interest of the organization and in compliance with legal frameworks and standards.

Maina's appointment was revoked effective on the same date.

In a letter seen by The Standard, Mr. Owalo said Maina had been dismissed for committing the government to pay $5 billion (Sh765 billion) awarded by the London Court of International Arbitration to British Broadcaster Channel 2 Group without approval from the ICT Ministry, the Attorney General, and the National Treasury.

The letter was addressed to KBC board chairman Benjamin Maingi and dated December 19. Maina reportedly ignored earlier instructions given to KBC on the matter.

Attempts to reach Maina for comment were unsuccessful as his phone was switched off.

“The appointment of Mr. Samuel Maina as acting managing director is terminated with immediate effect,” said Owalo.

He further directed that Maina be suspended and disciplinary action instituted against him by the board.

The Standard is privy to a letter by Maina to Mr. Matthew Vinall in which he stated, “We have noted the contents of your email and wish to instruct you to proceed and offer Channel 2 Group Corporation the total sum of US$5 billion in full and final settlement of the matter on a without prejudice basis.”

He added, “Please communicate this final offer to them and keep us informed of their response on the same.” His letter was copied to Mr. Owalo, Solicitor-General Shadrack Mose, and ICT Principal Secretary Edward Kisiang’ani.

Maina will now be replaced by Paul Macharia, who will serve for six months in an acting capacity.

“I duly appoint Paul Macharia, currently the Communication Economic Expert at the National Communications Secretariat, which falls under the mandate of the Ministry of Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy, as the Acting Managing Director...upon the appointment of a substantive Chief Executive Officer pursuant to Section 34 of the Public Service Commission Act, No. 10 of 2017,” said Owalo.

Additionally, Owalo has directed the board to accelerate the hiring process for a permanent managing director at the media house. Maina is a former vice president of the Kenya Editors Guild.

 He also served as KBC’s editor-in-chief.

He was appointed as acting MD at KBC following the expiry of Naim Bilal’s contract in March 2022.

Prior to his exit, Bilal had moved to court to challenge a decision by former ICT boss Joe Mucheru not to renew his three-year contract despite a recommendation by the KBC board.

 Bilal lost his position after his term expired on March 19.