NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – The government announced on Wednesday that a new Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Managing Director would be announced on Friday to replace the exiting George Muhoho.
Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere told a press conference that Muhoho’s tenure came to an end after he finished his two terms at the helm of the airports management body.
“Mr Muhoho finished his term on a very clean slate and any issues raised on the Government’s Efficiency Monitoring Unit audit report was against the institution and not him as an individual,” Mr Mwakwere said.
Mr Mwakwere said the Deputy Managing Director Mathews Wamalwa was head the institution in an acting capacity.
The Transport Minister was however categorical that the law does not stop him from re-appointing Mr Muhoho as the KAA Managing Director.
“I did it with the former Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Director-General Chris Kuto. His two-term contract ended but I renewed it for another year.”
However sources told Capital Business that Mr Muhoho was still in office on Wednesday morning and denied having received any letter from the Minister to the effect that his deputy was in charge.
Mr Muhoho’s final days at the helm of the airports authority had been rocked by scandals, the latest one being queries over an 80-year lease of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) land to Qatari investors for the establishment of facilities.
There had been allegations that proper due diligence was not carried out before the deal was signed, a claim that Prime Minister Raila Odinga dismissed, insisting that the Cabinet had okayed the contract.
But Mr Mwakwere defended the Qatari deal claiming the government had conducted sufficient background checks on the company. He said that Afro-Asia corporation had developed such centers in Cairo, Johannesburg and Abidjan.
“Fortunately the law allows this mode of development we took and therefore we are safe. What we can do is to see whether in the 18 months they will deliver what they have promised. Failure to do so means the whole thing collapses,” said the Minister.
The Government’s Efficiency Monitoring Unit had also raised questions over Sh1.7 billion worth of contracts given by the parastatal.
Among them was the expansion of JKIA, the Kisumu Airport, the Moi International Airport in Mombasa and the old airport at Embakasi.
A joint report by the Efficiency Monitoring Unit and the Inspectorate of State Corporations accused the KAA board and management of failing to comply with regulations while awarding the contracts.
In January, when questions on the contracts were raised, Mr. Mwakwere defended the airports management, terming it one of the most efficient in the public sector.