Transport CS James Macharia cancels recruitment of Kenya Airports Authority boss

Tuesday January 12 2016

Acting Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia appearing before Transport Committee at Parliament Buildings on August 25,2015

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia appearing before the National Assembly's Transport Committee at Parliament on August 25, 2015. Mr Macharia on January 12, 2016 cancelled the ongoing recruitment of the Kenya Airports Authority chief executive officer, citing interference. FILE | EVANS HABIL |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BRIAN NGUGI
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Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia on Tuesday cancelled the ongoing recruitment of the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) chief executive officer, citing interference.

Mr Macharia consequently directed that the process be initiated afresh with immediate effect by a “reputable and competent professional firm”.

“The recruitment process by the Board of Kenya Airports Authority was first advertised in the mainstream media on 20 November 2015 and on various local and international job websites.

“However, it has now come to my attention that the process has been unduly interfered with, thus resulting in doubts on [the] credibility of the anticipated outcome,” said Mr Macharia in a statement.

The CS said he had notified the KAA board of his decision at a meeting held on Monday.

“Further, I have directed that the process of recruiting the MD/CEO be now undertaken by a reputable and competent professional firm with the requisite capacity and that process be undertaken and completed expeditiously and without any delays,” said the CS.

In December, the Nation exclusively reported that more than 120 applicants were eyeing the KAA chief executive officer position as the race to fill the position, which fell vacant in early 2015, entered the homestretch.

A majority of the applicants were Kenyan citizens in the country and in the diaspora, a source privy to the details of the process had said then.

“A number of applicants have significant experience gained in the aviation industry locally and in other parts of the world.

“Applications have also been received from business leaders in non-aviation sectors, with track records in leading large successful organisations, locally, regionally and internationally,” the source had said.

The KAA board had taken up the process, following the KAA management’s alleged bungling of the procurement of a recruitment agency.

The board fired three of its senior officials including managing director Lucy Mbugua, general manager for finance John Thumbi and acting airport engineer Christopher Warutere on June 27 last year over allegations of improprieties in procuring airport buses.

Mrs Mbugua was also being probed for her alleged role in a controversial duty-free shops tender.

It also emerged that the KAA had been in a precarious situation, with the MD and all but four GMs holding acting positions.