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New boss at KTB amid scandal

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 8 – Maryanne Ndegwa is the new Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) Managing Director.

Ms Ndegwa’s appointment was made public on Thursday after Dr Achieng Ong\’ong\’a handed in his resignation.

“I have appointed Maryanne Ndegwa in the position until things at the Board stabilise after which the Board will advertise the position,” said Tourism Minister Najib Balala.

Ms Ndegwa was previously the Investment Manager at the Kenya Tourist Development Corporation, the arm of the government that is in charge of handling investments within the tourism sector.

Dr Ong\’ong\’a was interdicted early last month over questionable dealings at the tourism marketing body.

“Sh35 million that was set aside for marketing the country for recovery after the election violence that rocked the country is missing,” said the Minister. “Discovery by ministry officials of the unscrupulous dealings going on at the Board further saved the ministry from the loss of another Sh20 million.”

 Mr Balala said investigations had revealed that some Board members of KTB were doing business with the organisation.

“That’s why in December, I replaced Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) representative on the Board Duncan Muriuki with Adam Jillo,” he said.

KTB last year initiated a publicity campaign to the Maasai Mara that was aimed at restoring confidence for Kenya as a tourist destination. In the campaign, KTB organised trips by all Permanent Secretaries to the world famous game reserve in a publicity stunt that was also attended by President Kibaki.

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Mr Balala was in the meantime at pains to explain a recent ‘mass exodus’ of employees from KTB.

“I guess it’s the element of greener pastures, unfortunately salaries within the body have not been reviewed for a long time, but these are some of the issues we are looking at,” he reassured.

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