The managing director of the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock), Ms Sumayya Hassan-Athmani, has been sent on compulsory leave by the board to pave the way for investigations into affairs of the State-owned oil marketer.
It is understood that the board, which was constituted in May, is demanding a full audit of the corporation’s operations in light of a Sh270 million loss booked for the first half of the current financial year.
A source said that the board had ordered a forensic audit to be carried out by November last year but it failed due to “interference by management”.
“We felt that for an audit process to take place, it was necessary to have the CEO step aside. As soon as the exercise is completed, we will engage her on the way forward,” said a board member who spoke to the Daily Nation on condition of anonymity.
There are no specific accusations that have been levelled against Ms Hassan-Athmani, even as her fate at the helm of Nock remains unknown.
Attempts to get a comment from her failed as she neither responded to calls or a text message from the Nation.
The MD was in her second term in office, running for a period of three years, after then Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum, Mr Davis Chirchir, renewed her contract starting April 1, 2014.
Mr Chirchir’s move was met with criticism, especially from the Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek), which had at the time petitioned the head of public service and the Auditor-General to carry out a special audit of the corporation.
However, in an interview with the Nation at the time, Mr Chirchir maintained that his decision to renew Ms Hassan-Athmani’s contract was influenced by the need to maintain a gender balance in appointments of heads of parastatals within the energy and petroleum docket.