High Court locks out Lay, Karbolo from Portland

February 16, 2014
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In a ruling made on Friday Judge Mumbi Ngugi ordered that the status quo be maintained until conclusion of the case/FILE
In a ruling made on Friday Judge Mumbi Ngugi ordered that the status quo be maintained until conclusion of the case/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – The High Court has blocked newly appointed East African Portland Cement chairman Bill Lay and his predecessor Mark Karbolo from acting as chairman of the company’s until Thursday when a determination of the case will be made.

In a ruling made on Friday Judge Mumbi Ngugi ordered that the status quo be maintained until conclusion of the case.

“That in the interest of Company neither Mr Mark Karbolo nor Mr William Lay exercise the power of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the East African Portland Cement Ltd pending the ruling of this court on February 2014,” read the court order.

President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Bill Lay to the position until November 7, 2014.

Karbolo moved to court last Monday and secured a court order quashing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s earlier decision to sack him through a special gazette notice.

He told Justice Mumbi Ngugi that the President had overstepped his mandate in sending him home yet there was a court order in place saying the composition of the Portland board should be left as it is.

Karbolo’s ouster, announced in a special gazette notice last Friday, temporarily gave the government control of the cement firm’s board setting the stage for a new round of court battles.

Kenyatta said he had invoked the State Corporations Act, which gives him sweeping powers to appoint chairpersons and board members of parastatals, asserting the view that EAPCC is a State-owned company.

High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi Monday issued orders quashing President Kenyatta’s gazette notice appointing Lay and ruled that Karbolo continue as chairman of the EAPCC until the case is concluded.

Karbolo was first appointed to replace Benson Ndeta as chair of the Portland board in November 2008 for a three-year term which was renewed in 2011.

Speaking during the unveiling of the former CMC boss as the Portland chairman at the cement maker’s Athi River factory, Industrialization Principal Secretary Wilson Songa said the decision to cut short Karbolo’s term was informed by the poor performance of Kenya’s second biggest cement maker after Bamburi.

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