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Fraud

Staff Expose Glaring Administrative Injustices At KALRO

CAPTION: KALRO Director-General Dr. Eliud K. Kireger

Hello Cyprian,

I am a senior manager working at KALRO Headquarters but shocked at maladministration happening in this organization that if someone wanted to write a book on how to mismanage an organization, they are welcome to KALRO.

Please expose these myriad irregularities in the management of Kenya Agricultural Research and Livestock Organization (KALRO) which is a total contravention to the National Cohesion and Integration Act, 2008.

The organization is in breach of Section 7(1) and (2) of the National Cohesion and Integration Act (2008) which indicates that all offices shall seek to represent the diversity of the people of Kenya in terms of staff employment and that no public institution shall have more than one-third of its staff establishment from the same Community.

To begin with, this organization came into existence as a result of the merger between Coffee Research Foundation (CRF), Tea Research Foundation (TRF), Kenya Sugar Research Foundation (KESREF) and Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI).

There are historical injustices dating back many years in matters to do with promotion, placement, and designation of the staff. It is an organization governed by impunity as some of the staff are frustrated because they have stagnated for many years without promotion while some are secretly being promoted.

Shortly before the merger of the above organization occurred, the Human Resource Managers under the leadership of Mr Sammy Ndei met in Naivasha to harmonize the staff issues of promotion, placements redesignation among others.

The HR managers of other institutes placed their staff accordingly by promoting their employees, to the next grades designated and placed those deserving but the manager of one of the institute obstinately refused and instead promoted herself and a few of her cronies to the highest grades possible.

When the employees raised these issues of non-conformity, the Deputy Director-General in charge of crops Dr Makini explained that the management of KALRO was aware of the irregularities and that they would address their concerns as soon as possible.

CAPTION: KALRO Deputy Director-General [Crops] Dr. Felister Wambugha Makini

The employees, therefore, waited with bated breath for the ills to be corrected but to their surprise in 2018 they were forced to sign the appointment letters with so many irregularities.

For instance, a certificate holder was placed five grades higher than a degree holder.

When they raised these matters they were informed that the irregularities would be corrected within the next two weeks.

However, this has not been corrected to date and the concerned staff have continued to stagnate in the same grades since the merger in 2014.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) holds that all Kenyans are given equal opportunity to serve in government institutions based on merit but instead corruption has continued to play a part in promotions, placement among others.

Corruption is so high that the common phrase that “you must know people “is the order of the day.

For instance, in one of the institutes, three staff members were irregularly promoted from Research Technician to Research Scientist and some were left despite being employed at the same time with the same qualifications.

A staff member with a certificate in Agriculture was promoted and designated as a research scientist and paced at grade KR 7 which is an entry grade for Masters’s and Degree holders.

This also means that the said individual would retire at 65 years and thereby deny qualified staff members that opportunity.

The million-dollar question is how can a certificate holder be placed five grades higher than a degree holder in the same organization?

Where is meritocracy? Why do people go to school? Some Diploma holders were designated as Research Scientists and those with fake degrees were promoted even after the Commission of University Education (CUE) raised red alerts.

A hand full of Degree holders who graduated more than five years ago have not been designated yet they were placed several grades lower than Certificate holders. One staff holding a master’s degree has neither been designated nor assigned duties for over three years.

She had been tasked with preparing tea for some officers.

Another serious anomaly is the case of a Research scientist who graduated in 2009 with a Master’s degree has stagnated since then without any promotion.

His peers were promoted to grade 6 while he remains at grade 7.

Five members of staff were transferred to other institutes for raising these administrative mischiefs.

Despite all these glairing administrative challenges, management injustices and many more, a lot of efforts made by the staff to contact Kalro HQ in an attempt to come up with corrective measures such as placements, promotions and designations have fallen on deaf ears as no action has been taken.

One staff at KALRO HQ confided to me that designation and placement of staff was done but one is required to part with a bribe in order to get promotion or re-designation letters.

Others argue that money that was meant for re-designation and placement was misappropriated.

In one of the institutes, a few members of staff have been designated and promoted secretly as the rest wait.

Instead of addressing these injustices, the Director-General (DG) Dr Eliud Kirger recently authorized the release of an internal advert asking only interns to apply for permanent and pensionable positions.

The advert had raised more eyebrows because it ring-fenced only serving interns who had served for a period of 3 yrs or more.

This advert had so many irregularities:

  • It discriminated against other Kenyans with the same qualifications and casuals who had attained the necessary qualifications.
  • It discriminated against staffs that were serving in those positions and have not been placed, designated or promoted for decades yet they have superior qualifications.
  • The interns were to be placed several Job Groups higher than the serving staff with higher qualifications and with decades of experience
  • The policy on Policy internship is very clear that interns work for 3 to 12 months for them to acquire the necessary working experience but contrary to the policy some of the interns have worked for more than 5 years.

Even though the advert was cancelled due to public outcry it was noted that 80 per cent of all interns are from one community.

These interns are known to harass permanent employees as some of them have been designated as OICs, PI imprest holders among others.

One intern cashier walks with 5 Million Kenya shillings in cash?

Why are the auditors not doing their work?

We shall be exposing the list of interns who are involved in these scandals in the next few days.

The few scholarships and training opportunities that were supposed to benefit the staff were dished out to interns against the government policy on internships.

Many Short term training opportunities benefit only interns.

These are serious issues that require urgent investigation by the EACC and DCI.

Mr Nyakundi, please expose this matter to the relevant concerned bodies for redress as it is causing anguish to members of staff at in one of the institutes.

For instance, four members of staff are currently being treated for mental illnesses and stress-related complications in various medical facilities.

Some members have started engaging in strange habits such as alcoholism as a defence mechanism to stress.

One member of staff is withdrawn and it’s a matter of time before the worst happens.

It is also a passionate appeal to Dr Frank Njega as the presidential advisor on mental health to move in and rescue these employees who are on the verge of suffering from these mental illnesses.

There are also issues of Nepotism and tribalism.

For instance, in one of the institutes out of seven Heads of department who sit in the Institute Management Committee IMAC five of them are from one ethnic community – the Kalenjin.

The institute accountant, a Luo, was replaced by a Kalenjin and interdicted for whistleblowing on corruption-related incidences on the KCSAP project.

In conclusion, the employees are demanding that the interns can only be employed after proper placement promotions, and re-designation is done as per the Human resource manual so that the gaps left can be filled by qualified Kenyans without prejudice or discrimination.

That the employees would not be intimidated by the threat of sacking, transfers as they are ready and willing to go to court.

Instead of issuing threatening Memos such as the one dated 9th February 2022 on the release of internal documents and information externally.

This will not institute accountant intimidate them as some of them are almost retiring.

The DG is reminded that KALRO is a public body and should be transparent and open to scrutiny.

The best he can do is to correct the ills that continue to soil the image of the organization.

The employees are calling upon all Government institutions to move with speed and save this situation by appointing an independent body to address these HR issues.

A Competent HR Manager should be recruited to oversee this process.

Mr Kivui had just started implementing the required changes before he was frustrated and was forced to resign.

The director of KALRO should stop sitting in the comfort zone at HQ and should go immediately and address the HR irregularities in one of the institutes before it is too late.

The employees are also asking the relevant bodies such as EACC, Commission on administrative justice, national gender and equality the commission, labour relations court, Kenya national commission of human rights, and salaries and remuneration Commission to move
with speed and save these employees.

 


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