Kibaki, Raila step in for Lay

December 23, 2011
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Embattled CMC Chief Executive Officer Bill Lay
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 23- It is now emerging that President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga intervened to have the revocation of CMC Chief Executive Officer Bill Lay’s work permit overturned.

Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang has now retracted his decision to cancel Lay’s permit saying it is still valid.

In a letter to CMC Chairman Joel Kibe who had written a protest note to the Immigration Ministry, Kajwang said the decision to withdraw the revocation followed legal advice from his technical team.

“I have considered your timely clarification over the issue surrounding the work permit and on the strength of legal advice from my technical officers, I wish to confirm to you that the decision to grant William Lay the work permit is unchanged and the same remains valid,” Kajwang said.

The Minister had on Wednesday canceled the CEO’s license until CMC addresses its boardroom wrangles that have been fought in the public eye.

“I have continued to receive written submissions from various shareholders of CMC to revoke his work permit in the national interests of the company,” the minister said in a letter to his Director of Immigration Services.

“Subsequently, I hereby direct that you revoke his permit forthwith until they sort out their internal management problems and until they advice us otherwise,” he had instructed.

The decision would have effectively handed over control of the company to the ousted former chairman Peter Muthoka with whom Lay is having supremacy battles over the control of the auto dealer.

Muthoka is the chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Andy Forwarders which is the largest shareholder in CMC with a 24 percent stake, and which is being investigated over claims of improper billings.

The battles, which have attracted the attention of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), have also been played out in the High Court which on November 16 stopped a planned CMC Holdings Extra Ordinary General Meeting that had been called by the Muthoka-led faction.

Andy Forwarders Chairman Peter Muthoka had moved to court challenging the Capital Markets Authority powers to stop the EGM which would have been used to change the composition of the board of directors.

CMA was opposed to the special meeting, which was to be chaired by Muthoka saying that it was conducting forensic audit into the company and claims of insider trading.

The auto dealer was in September slapped with a three month trading ban on the Nairobi Securities Exchange to give the regulator time to carry out thorough investigations into conflict of interests and fraud claims in the company.

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