, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – The firm contracted to carry out the recruitment of the new Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Managing Director now says there was undue interference from both the National Standards Council and the Minister for Industrialisation.
Audit Firm KPMG says it had been warned of possible political meddling with certain members of the council wanting to have their choice of candidates at the helm of the standards body.
KPMG Chief Executive Officer Josphat Mwaura claimed on Wednesday that the standard\’s council was unhappy when the firm declined to disclose names of the candidates who had been shortlisted after interviews.
"We reiterated to the council that our report would safeguard the information relating to the applicants. Our report also required the details of the candidates we recommended to be kept confidential as this obviously has implications for the candidates\’ own careers," Mr Mwaura said.
He added that the former Permanent Secretary (Prof John Lonyangapuo) at the ministry had warned over possible interference that would compromise the process.
"The former PS at the Ministry of Industrialisation was particularly vocal on the need for KPMG to fend off any attempts of interference in the process and to be weary of some of the recent appointees to the national standardisation council," the CEO said adding that Minister Henry Kosgey had also sent emissaries to influence the recruitment.
"The Minister did eventually attempt to speak to KPMG directly," he added.
In March 2010, KPMG submitted its report to the board, which acknowledged receipt, but the board decided to re-advertise the position to give it greater say in the appointment process.
The firm also confirmed that the newly appointed MD Joseph Koskey was not among those initially selected.
In the re-advertised position, the board received 74 applications with 15 qualifying for the shortlist and 11 being interviewed by an external consultant as well as the board.
On Monday, Mr Kosgey defended the appointment but acknowledged that his appointee was not even among the top list of three forwarded to him by the Chairman of the Standards Council that had interviewed candidates for the job.
However, the Minister said he later received information that the shortlist was not unanimous.
"Soon after receiving the Chairman\’s letter, I received correspondence from Council members informing me that there had been no consensus in the shortlist forwarded by the Chairman. They informed me that the letter was written before the selection process was complete and did not have the support of the Council," the minister said in a statement.
Mr Mwaura said the appointment of Mr Koskey ought to be nullified and the process started afresh to restore confidence in both the public and private sector.
"When we eventually come to understand the full ramifications of this decision you will actually begin to see that it has far reaching impact. The business community had raised this issue saying they have to have full confidence in the person heading the standards body," he said.