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Cheserem named CMA chairman

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 20 – Former Central Bank of Kenya Governor, Micah Cheserem is the new chairman of the Capital Markets Authority.

The appointment of Mr Cheserem came barely a day after Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta announced the re-constitution of the CMA board, that of the Nairobi Stock Exchange and the Central depository and Settlement Corporation as part of measure to restore public confidence in the financial market.

“As regards my announcement yesterday (Thursday) on the restructuring of the CMA board, I am pleased to announce that the president has appointed former CBK governor Micah Cheserem as the new board chairman,” Mr.Kenyatta said.

The past chairman Professor Chege Waruinge quit last month.

While accepting the appointment, Mr Cheserem acknowledged that he was joining the CMA at a time it was facing its most daunting challenges yet with the global economic crunch, rogue players in the stock market and when the Nairobi Stock Exchange was experiencing massive losses.

“The challenge that lies ahead is tough, and when you see a lion running out of a bush you had better ask yourself why,” he said referring to the departure of former chairman Professor Waruinge.

Mr Cheserem vowed to work tirelessly with the rest of the board – which would remain in office pending the appointment of new members  – in seeking to restore public confidence in the stock market. Currently, the Nairobi Stock Exchange 20-share index has dipped by about 50 per cent since mid last year.

“The level of savings in the country is not high and if we discourage business in the stock exchange we would be discouraging investment,” he added.

At the same time he gave notice to rogue stock brokers and anyone dealing with the investment market pointing out that they were the ones causing public dissatisfaction with the stock market.

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“It is criminal to steal investor’s money. We are giving notice to stockbrokers and investments banks. If you infringe the law, we will act swiftly,” warned the new chairman.

He added: “If you want evidence ask commercial banks what happened when I joined CBK.”

The new CMA chairman appealed to Kenyans who had lost money through investment in the stock exchange, not to despair as the CMA was working closely with Treasury in trying to recover the cash.

Mr Cheserem is an accountant by profession, having qualified as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Accountants of London. He has held a number of positions since he left the Central Bank of Kenya including British American Tobacco, and Unilever.  He is currently the chairman of Equator Flowers Kenya Ltd, in which he is a shareholder.

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