END OF BATTLE

CS Mucheru announces new board, settling another leadership wrangle

It will be tasked to increase e-commerce, foreign advertisements and implementation of National Addressing System

In Summary

• ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has said the newly appointed four members to the board of the Communications Authority of Kenya will be tasked to increase e-commerce, foreign advertisements, tackle issues around mobile taxations

• The new directors include Mahmoud Mohamed Noor, Paul Muraguri Mureithi, Jackson Kiprotich Kemboi and Laura Chite.

The Communication Authority will punish Safaricom following the network downtime experienced on Monday, April 24, 2017. /ENOS TECHE
The Communication Authority will punish Safaricom following the network downtime experienced on Monday, April 24, 2017. /ENOS TECHE

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has said the newly appointed four members to the board of the Communications Authority of Kenya will be tasked to increase e-commerce, foreign advertisements, tackle issues around mobile taxations.

The announcement settles another wrangle existing with appointment, following perennial leadership disputes.

The new directors include Mahmoud Mohamed Noor, Paul Muraguri Mureithi, Jackson Kiprotich Kemboi and Laura Chite.

 
 

The four will serve for a three year term effective July 18.

Top of their obligations, as pointed out by CS Mucheru will be implementation of National Addressing System (NAS), a framework that provides naming and numbering of streets, properties such as buildings and land for identification.

This also include tracking of played content for artist royalties, increase in local content than 40 per cent and ensuring tax payment through foreign advertisements.

“Kenya is losing advertisements which come back as flat adverts evading tax,” CS Mucheru said.

According to CS Mucheru, part of this operations will be achieved through funds allocated through Universal Service Advisory Council (USAC).

However, the CA board has had it hard with court battles on recruitment that run since October 2014.

In 2015, the existing directors and top management were accused of misusing funds and bribery allegations relating to awarding of Airtel’s licence.

 
 

In May this year, the High Court blocked the appointment of a new board following a suit by activist Okiya Omtata challenging the appointment process.

This was after completion of the a seven-member board appointed in April 29, 2016.

Omtata argued that the appointment process for the authority’s board of directors and director-general had been undermined by amendments to the Kenya Information and Communications Act (KICA).

The dispute raised concerns that the independence of the authority would be compromised if the cabinet secretary selects his preferred board members without any oversight.

This new board is expected to serve right as as they are well experienced and ensure not mistakes are made regarding investments,CS Mucheru said.

This also follows a statement put out by CA board chairman Ngene Gituku declaring the post of director-general vacant in a bid to kick-start his replacement.

CA director general Francis Wangusi term is to end in August this year.

The communication authority amid the rows seems to have put a final stamp on unfair competition accusations against telco giant company, Safaricom.

The parliament for a long time accused Safaricom of dominace over its rivals, Airtel and Telkom.

“We have to support innovation and we can't push for a split between M-pesa and Safaricom which could probably mean lose of infrastructure to the other,” Mucheru said.

The authority has also given the go-ahead of joint venture between Airtel and Telkom.