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Citizen Weekly

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


Three senior Kenya Airports Authority staff have been recalled from compulsory leave after more than a month of suspension over controversial tender awards for the duty-free shops.
KAA board chairman David Kimaiyo said yesterday in a press statement that the four were to resume duty.
“The Board has undertaken its preliminary investigations within the timeframe set out in the HR manual. Based on the preliminary investigations, the board resolved to recall the managing director and the three senior managers,” read the statement.
KAA managing director Lucy Mbugua was sent on compulsory leave alongside Mr John Thumbi (general manager for finance), Ms Katherine Kisila (corporation secretary) and Mr Obadiah Orora (procurement manager) on February 19 over the controversial award of a tender to run duty-free shops at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Dufry International.
The four were sent home after an ordinary board meeting to facilitate investigations into the alleged illegal awarding of the tender.
The meeting had been called to deliberate on and approve a number of pending issues but was changed to a special one (following Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli’s request) so that issues not on the agenda could be introduced for debate.
Moi International Airport manager Yatich Kangugo was then appointed to act as managing director pending a report from a team appointed to investigate the four.
After the suspension of the four, State House is said to have moved in and directed the State Corporations Advisory Committee to take over the investigations as a neutral body
Last Thursday, the High Court temporarily reinstated Ms Kisila, who had challenged her suspension.
Mr Justice Nelson Abuodha ordered KAA to rescind the suspension until a suit filed by Ms Kisila earlier this month comes up for hearing on April 16. The judge told Ms Kisila to go on leave as prescribed by KAA, but stopped her employer from interfering with her job and benefits.
“For avoidance of doubt, Ms Kisila shall proceed on leave for 30 days as requested by the KAA Board of Directors but such leave shall be without loss of office, salary and or benefits attached to her office,” the judge said.
The four officials’ problems began after the August 2013 fire incident that gutted parts of the JKIA.
Shortly after the fire, the authority, in a bid to fast-track the construction of Terminal Four (now renamed Terminal 1A), issued a tender for developing and managing duty-free retail shops.
Tender wrangles followed the award of the single firm to operate the whole terminal under the 2010 agreement known as the “master concessionaire.”
The tender was closed on October 25, 2013 with 10 firms responding. On evaluation, Nuance Group was picked as the winner, but the matter was challenged before the Public Procurement Administrative Board.
The board cancelled the award in December 2013 and directed the authority to re-tender the contract.