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Sunday 18 January 2015

Board wars erupt at CAK over appointments

Cabinet scretary Fred Matiangi, Communication Authority of Kenya and the Attorney General Githu Muigai have been sued by the secretary general of Information Communication Technology Association of Kenya in the High Court in a petition in which the applicant seeks the nullification of the appointment of CAK’s board of directors.
Court documents availed to Weekly Citizen shows that the appointment of the directors was irregularly carried out and that the exercise did not conform to the rule of law as stipulated.
The new twist comes hot on the heels of a protracted tussle that pitted the board against senior directors who recently moved to the Industrial Court to have a decision by the board to declare their positions vacant quashed. Their prayers were answered and CAK’s decision to declare their positions vacant after advertising the same was rescinded when the court ruled in their favour.
ICTAK secretary general Adrian Njenga has sued the trio alongside the selection panel headed by Carole Kariuki as its chair in the petition before the High Court. Others are Wilbert Chogo, Kennedy Nyaundi, Grace Munjuri, Levi Obonyo, Hellen Kinoti, Beatrice Opee and Peter Mutie who have been listed as interested parties in the suit.
In the petition, Njenga through his lawyers, Kabati and Company Advocates states that the application is urgent and its service should be dispensed within the first instance and seeks certiorari orders to quash the decision of Gazette Notice Nos 2914 and 3586 of April 24 and May 20, 2014 respectively by the cabinet secretary.
The application dated October 23 last year also seek out the court’s authority for an order of mandamus compelling the cabinet secretary to disclose the full composition of the selection panel chaired by Carole Kariuki which interviewed the board members and further prays for cost of and incidental to the application to be provided for in the petition.
In his sworn affidavit, Njenga avers that on April 15 2014, he was nominated for appointment by CAK board after he was seconded by ICTAK as stipulated by law urging that the full membership of the selection panel was not disclosed by the cabinet secretary from the onset as required under the standing law.
“This was contrary to the provisions of national values and principles of governance and transparency as enshrined in Article 10 (2) c as well as Article 35 (3) of the constitution which requires the state to publish and publicise any important information affecting the state. This amounted to illegality,” Njenga further states in his petition filed before the High Court in Nairobi.
He avers that the process was tainted with procedural impropriety that led to the appointment of CAK members of the board as this was not in compliance with the mandatory provisions of section 6 (4) b which require each applicant name to be published in CAK website and the official Kenya Gazette as their appointment was an illegality since  it did  not conform with timelines provided for under section 6 b of the Kenya Information  Amendment Act 2014, as  “the purported list was published on April 24, 2014 instead of April 22, 2014”, a fact he says was outside the statutory timeline stipulated by law.
The petitioner now wants the High Court to quash the appointment of the CAK board of directors as “having been manifestly irrational”, adding that the cabinet secretary  acted ultra vires by appointing the board members without adhering to the tenets of the law thus flawing the process.
“The appointment by the first respondent is tainted with inherent bias as the appointment of interested parties as members of the CAK board was inundated with server incapacity,” Njenga’s petition further avers.
The former University of Nairobi lecturer adds that his efforts to seek reprieve from the Commission on Administration of Justice headed by Otiende Amollo for an explanation from CAK has not been responded to by the chair of the selection panel six months under. Others who sit on the CAK board include Ngene Gituku (chairman), Francis Wangusi (director general and CEO of the CAK), Joseph Ole Musuni (PS, ICT), Monica Juma (PS, Defence) and  Kamau Thugge  ( PS, Treasury).

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