Change of guard at KEBS

September 22, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 – Embattled immediate former Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Managing Director Eng Kioko Mang’eli has finally bowed out after he initially put up a brave face and dismissing his sacking.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Industrialisation Permanent Secretary Prof John Lonyangapuo said the KEBS Director of Metrology and Testing Dr Joel Kioko would be the new acting MD until the recruitment exercise was done.

“We have an incoming MD for the time being that the usual procedure for recruiting a new Managing Director is being initiated,” said the PS who was at pains to explain why Eng Mangeli was sacked only three months after his contract was renewed.

He assured that his Ministry under whose docket the standards body falls would strive to enforce the laws and ensure that no counterfeits find their way into the country.

“Although there’s a change of guard at the Bureau, they will not be a change of rules or guard for the functions of KEBS,” he stated adding that they would remain vigilant and deal ruthlessly with businessmen importing substandard goods or agents allowing the same in order to safeguard the interests of Kenyans.

While handing over to the new MD, Eng Mang’eli blamed his abrupt and controversial dismissal on politics and particularly his stand that contaminated maize should not be allowed into the country.

“Whether people are powerful or not, our position as the citizens of this country is that Kenya will remain a trading nation and interest or not interests it has to continue ensuring that only standard products get into the country,” said the visibly angry Eng Mang’eli.

He said he did not regret that doing the right thing had cost him his job but said that standards of commodities have to be upheld if Kenya is going to remain competitive and attain its goals as outlined in the Vision 2030.

He was non committal on whether he would sue the government for wrongful dismissal saying they were negotiating with the ministry officials on the issue.

He claimed that he got his sacking letter on Monday and was not given a chance to defend himself. Although he did not divulge the contents of the letter, there was speculation that it probably included his demand for a salary increment as part of the reasons for his firing.

“Board saw it fit to increase my salary (from Sh480, 000 to Sh1.6million) and it went through a process which was chaired by the Head of the Public Service. The Minister (Industrialisation) chaired the final meeting about my salary,” he added.

At the same time, Eng Mangeli said he will still retain his position as the President of the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) despite his departure from KEBS.

“The government will have to put in money for my continuity as President of ARSO. It is a continental body and its not dependent on me being the MD of KEBS,” he explained.

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