Raila, Muthaura differ over KEBS job

October 15, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 1 5 – The controversy over the appointment of the new Kenya Bureau of Standards Managing director has now put Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Civil service chief Francis Muthaura on a collision path after they issued conflicting directives.

The newest controversy surrounds a letter issued by the Prime Minister on Thursday directing that the \’status quo\’ remain until the issue is sorted out.

An official at the PM\’s office intimated that the Premier\’s directive meant that Joseph Koskey – who has already assumed office – continues discharging his duties.

But Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua said on Friday that the new MD should wait until the disagreement clouding his appointment is settled in government.

"There is no contradiction… to me status quo means you retain the status that has been there for a long time not what has been there for two days," said Dr Mutua.

Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey has been under fire after appointing Mr Koskey who was not among the top three interviewees. 

Politicians and the business community have castigated Mr Kosgey for bypassing merit and the list sent to him by the National Standards Council.

The Minister has however defended himself saying he took the decision since the board was divided on the outcome of the interviews.  He added that top contenders had asked for higher salaries than the government had set.

The PM on Thursday evening directed government officers to avoid making conflicting statements on the matter saying he would announce the way forward next week.

But Dr Mutua said on Friday: "The Permanent Secretary of Industrialisation has written back in reply to the Premier\’s directive and he has clearly said that he will enforce the \’status quo\’ which means that the acting managing director Mr Joel Kioko will remain in office until the issue is sorted."

Audit firm KPMG which was contracted to carry out the recruitment has said there was undue interference from both the National Standards Council and the Minister for Industrialisation.

The firm said it had been warned of possible political meddling by certain members of the council wanting to have their choice of candidates at the helm of the standards body.

The Chief Executive Officer at KPMG Josphat Mwaura claimed on Wednesday that the standard\’s council was unhappy when the firm declined to disclose names of the candidates who had been shortlisted after interviews.

The firm also confirmed that the newly appointed MD was not among those initially selected.

The board received 74 applications with 15 qualifying for the shortlist and 11 being interviewed by an external consultant as well as the board.

On Monday, Mr Kosgey defended the appointment but acknowledged that his appointee was not among the top list forwarded to him by the Chairman of the Standards Council.

The Minister also said he received information that the shortlist was not unanimous.


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