New bosses for both Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Airports Authority

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The new Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director Catherine Mturi Wairi with chairman Marsden Madoka.

By ABDULHAKIM SHERMAN

newsdesk@dailyreporter.co.ke

The government has ended uncertainity at the country’s two major strategic parastatals by appointing new managing directors after a protracted hiring process.

At the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Transport secretary James Macharia, confirmed Catherine Mturi-Wairi as the managing director, ending four months of leadership vacuum at the country’s richest parastatal.

Mr Macharia at the same time, announced the appointment of Norwegian Johnny Andersen as the new managing director of the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).

Mr Andersen’s appointment ends a protracted recruitment characterised by claims of political interference.

Mr Macharia said Mrs Wairi’s name was forwarded to his office by the by KPA board after she scored the highest points in the recent interviews for the job.

Ms Wairi, up to February the agency’s general manager in charge of finance, was appoint as the authority’s acting boss after Mr Gichiri Ndua was sacked in February.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Macharia said she scored 72.5 per cent against Eng Joseph Atonga’s 68.75 and Mr Stanley Ndege’s 58.2 per cent.

“In this regard, and having considered the need to appoint the managing director on the basis of merit, I hereby confirm the appointment of Mrs Mturi-Wairi for a period of three years with immediate effect,” Mr Macharia said in a statement.

Ms Wairi is a finance professional who has served in various roles over the last 23 years at the KPA up to the level of general manager finance before being elevated to acting MD

She also holds a number of qualifications including an MBA in Strategic Management from USIU, BSc. in Finance and Accounting from USIU, CPA, CPS and a Certified SAP Consultant.

She is a member of Institute of Directors, ICPAK, CPS, Local Tax Committee, WOMESA and the Trustee KPA Staff Pension Scheme.

The government kick-started the search for a new KPA managing director after the former boss was fired.

KPA Board of Directors chairman in a public notice in late February said that the KPA was urgently seeking to recruit a “high calibre, motivated, visionary, dynamic and results-oriented individual to fill the position of managing director”.

Former KPA MD Mr Ndua who had served for five years was sacked on February 9, together with top officials and police officers at the Mombasa port over corruption. Mr Ndua was ordered to proceed on terminal leave pending the expiry of his contract in July. Read more Port, KRA bosses fired in graft purge

Ms Mturi replaced Mr Ndua in acting capacity. The Mombasa port is one of Kenya’s most important assets and whose management has a direct bearing on the country and the region’s economic health.

Mr Ndua’s sacking coincided with that of top KPA officials, including former general manager for operations Twalib Khamisi, former general manager for board and legal services Muthoni Gatere, former general manager for corporate services Justis Nyarandi and former head of security Mohamed Morowa.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, his transport counterpart James Macharia, Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner-General John Njiraini and Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet said the sackings were aimed at ridding the port of corruption.

Mr Macharia said then that the port’s board had established that staff had failed to fully carry out their duties “to stop or mitigate the possibility of port work and delivery being compromised”.

The sackings were taken on the recommendations of an inter-agency committee formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to look into issues affecting the port.

The new KAA MD trounced five other candidates, including acting managing director Yatich Kangugo, who emerged a distant fifth.

Mr Andersen scored 88 per cent, according to the ranking of the interviewing panel, while Mr Kangugo, who prior to his appointment as the acting MD was airport manager of the Moi International Airport, scored 63 points.

Announcing the appointment today, KAA chairman Julius Karangi said Mr Andersen is a career aviation expert with over 21 years of experience.

“Mr Andersen has a wide knowledge and experience in the aviation industry and specifically in running airport hubs across the world. He is a good fit for KAA,” said Gen Karangi.

The new CEO is a fellow at the Royal Aeronautical Society in the UK and an accredited instructor at the International Air Transport Association.

He holds a master of science degree in air transport management and a bachelor of business administration in logistics.

The KAA board interviewed six candidates last week and submitted the names of three candidates to the CS on Saturday.

The KAA has been without a substantive head for more than a year following the sacking of then managing director Lucy Mbugua on corruption allegations. Efforts to replace her hit a snag on three occasions.

In the earlier bungled process, the KAA had on November 20 last year advertised the managing director’s vacancy, receiving more than 120 applicants.

The KAA has also advertised the position of senior managers who have been working in acting capacity for a long time.

Mr Macharia, however, cancelled the recruitment and appointed consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to recruit afresh amid intrigues by parties with vested interests in the job.

The search for the managing director has been bungled several times on the grounds of corruption.

Former KAA chairman David Kimaiyo said there had been canvassing by State officials and some of the directors who were keen to put their cronies in the position.

Speaking in Uasin Gishu this week, Mr Kimaiyo said he was sacked as the airport agency boss because of his stand against corruption.

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