- While announcing his suspension, Owalo appointed Paul Machari as acting Managing Director.
Information, Communications and the Digital Economy CS Eliud Owalo has terminated the appointment of Samuel Maina as acting Managing Director of the national broadcaster, KBC.
In a letter to the chairman of the board, Benjamin K. Maingi, Owalo said Maina should proceed on suspension immediately and disciplinary action instituted against him.
“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 with effect from December 19, 2023 for six months or upon the appointment of a substantive Chief Executive Officer pursuant to Section 34 of the Public Service Commission Act, No. 10 of 2017,” Owalo said.
The CS instructed the board to expedite the process of recruitment of a substantive managing director for the corporation.
The letter was copied to the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Felix Koskei and the Principal Secretary, of the State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunications Edward Kisiang’ani.
Owalo said Maina allegedly committed the government to pay US$ 5 billion in LICA Arbitration No. 122233: Channel 2 Group Corporation versus Kenya Broadcasting Corporation without seeking concurrence with the ministry, the National Treasury and the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice.
He said the alleged move by Maina was in total disregard of earlier instructions given to KBC.
The dispute dates back to 2009, when KBC abruptly terminated a joint venture agreement with Dubai-based businessman Ajay Sheth, owner of Channel 2 Group.
KBC and Channel 2 formed a joint venture in 2006, where the State broadcaster would provide technical equipment and the latter provide staff, programming content, and resources to the new digital station.
The case, which was under arbitration in London, was flagged by Parliament’s Budget and Appropriations Committee in 2021 as one of the risks to taxpayers.