TURBULENCE

Kenya airways denies claims on the sacking of finance boss

Chairman Michael Joseph says the developments at the airline are an internal matter.

In Summary

• KQ chief financial officer is said to have been sent on compulsory leave for leaking sensitive company information.

• CEO Sebastian Mikosz recently lamented over leakage of internal information to the media by “enemies within”, which was hurting the company's decision making.

Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz, Board Chairman Michael Joseph and Chief Financial Officer Hellen Mwariri at a company event in 2018.
Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz, Board Chairman Michael Joseph and Chief Financial Officer Hellen Mwariri at a company event in 2018.
Image: VICTOR IMBOTO

Kenya Airways has denied claims it has suspended its Chief Financial Officer, in the latest twist of events at the airline that is being investigated by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

"To be clear, no one has been sacked. Not even the CFO (chief financial officer)," Kenya Airways Chairman Michael Joseph told the Star in a text message on Wednesday.

This is after media reports indicated on Wednesday that the national carrier has sent home its CFO Hellen Mwariri over misconduct.

 
 

Other reports indicate she has been sent on compulsory leave and was being investigated by the board for allegedly leaking sensitive company information.

Joseph declined to divulge more into the matter saying: "Our official position is really its an internal matter."

The incidence comes barely a fortnight after chief executive Sebastian Mikosz lamented over leakage of internal information to the media, which was hurting the company's decision making processes.

In an exclusive interview with the Star on September 5, Mikosz referred to a section of the staff as “enemies within,” who are hurting the company's turnaround strategy.

 
 

"The biggest enemies are inside. Sometimes you have just spoken about something and it is already out in the media. You can never make any meaningful decision as management in such an environment,” Mikosz said

He added; "Even the letter from the DCI was leaked to the media before some of us saw it."

DCI wrote to Kenya Airways on September 2, seeking to be furnished with documents for investigations into procurement flaws at the national carrier.

The claim is that the company lost about Sh100 billion in 10 years in operational missteps that have sent the airline to its knees.

In the letter by Abdalla Komesha of the Banking Fraud Investigation Unit, KQ was asked to avail procurement guidelines since 2015 and procurement plan for the financial years 2017/18 – 2018/19.

Mikosz said the airline was cooperating with investigators even as it continues to implement its turnaround strategy and the ongoing nationalization plans.

Joseph has since cautioned against political interference in the new board if KQ is nationalized, saying no political appointments should be made.

Kenya Airways reported a Sh8.6 billion loss for the six months to June 30 sinking deeper in the red on increased operating costs, after a Sh4billion loss in a similar period last year.

Pilots through their lobby group-Kenya Airline Pilots Association have blamed management for poor decisions in running the airline.