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November 14, 2018

Mturi suspension case to proceed

KPA  MD Catherine Mturi at KPA headquarters in Mombasa county. Photo/ John Chesoli
KPA MD Catherine Mturi at KPA headquarters in Mombasa county. Photo/ John Chesoli

A court in Mombasa has declined to stay a case contesting the suspension of former KPA managing director Catherine Mturi-Wairi.

Justice James Rika, sitting at the Employment and Labour Relationa Court, yesterday directed that the matter proceeds, despite there being another case at the Constitutional Court.

Kenya Ports Authority filed an application to temporarily suspend the matter from being heard until the determination of the case before judge Erick Ogola.

KPA’s lawyer Cecil Miller said the court risks collusion of orders if the matter proceeds at the Labour court.

Yesterday, there were unconfirmed reports the board may review the decision to send Mturi-Wairi on a two-month compulsory leave.

Sources said the board members met for the first time after the suspension.

A source said the same conclusion over the former MD’s forced leave is likely to be reached.

When the case was first filed in court, activist Okiya Omtatah said the previous team lacked legal capacity to make decisions.

The term of most members had expired, thus, the two-third majority required for any sitting could not be reached.

Joseph Kibwana has been appointed to head the KPA board for a three-year term.

His appointment via Gazette notice 5584 was made by Transport CS James Macharia on June 5.

Former chairperson Marsden Madoka’s term ended on April 16. He was appointed on April 17, 2015.

In the Gazette notice, the CS also appointed five new board members.

Peter Gibendi, Mary Ngare, Conrad Thorpe, Kariuki Njiri and Alice Mwaisaka started their three-year term on Wednesday.

The period of four other board members — Stephen Ogwapit, Hafswa Dele, Fred Kirui and Ken Ogeto (now Solicitor General) — expired on April 21.

Michael Kamanda, the son of politician Maina Kamanda, and Valentine Mwakamba’s terms as board members are yet to expire.

The board has 12 members. Those who are representatives by virtue of their positions are the chairman, MD, Transport PS, Treasury PS, Attorney General and Kenya Railways Corporation MD.

The other six are appointed. Yesterday, it was unclear who between Kamanda and Mwakamba had been retained.

Kibwana is a retired General. He joined the Kenya Navy in 1964 and was commissioned as a lieutenant on January 1, 1967.

Kibwana served in various senior ranks in the navy and was chief of military intelligence from 1982 to 1985.

In May 1998, he became lieutenant general and took over as the Commander of Kenya’s National Defence College.

He became Chief of General Staff on December 1, 2000 and served until 2005.​

Ngare is a former PS in the grand coalition government and Njiri is a former Kigumo MP. KPA staff welcomed Kibwana’s appointment.

They said he is a reformist, with a proven track record.

Besides performance and theft of containers at the port, Mturi-Wairi’s suspension is reportedly due to confusion surrounding the Sh60 billion pension scheme.

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