Panic has gripped Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) Chairman Eng. Wangai Ndirangu as detractors intensify efforts to oust him from his position on the basis of holding two public jobs against the Ethics Act.
The ongoing wrangles at the state agency are linked to a leadership battle within the board pitting troubled Chair Eng. Ndirangu against rival factions who strongly argue that his appointment by President Uhuru Kenyatta breached sections of the law that bars picking persons already serving in public office as KeNHA Chair.
Ndirangu, a lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), was recommended by Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.
Through a team of lawyers from Adera and Kenyatta Advocates, the splinter group of the board aligned with the senior management led by George Balla petitioned CS Macharia in April 2022 asking him to initiate his suspension.
Represented by Dera & Kenyatta Advocates, they cited the Roads Act which strictly states that KeNHA Chairman must be tapped from a list of six directors nominated by various organisations and must not be a public officer.
The six organisations include tertiary learning institutions, the institution of Engineers of Kenya, Law Society of Kenya, Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya, Institute of Surveyors of Kenya and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.
The Ethics Act defines a public officer as a permanent or part-time employee in counties, national government, Parliament and institutions such as public universities.
Bearing this in mind, JKUAT is a state-owned institution, and as such, his position as a civil engineer lecturer makes him a public officer.
George Ballo, therefore, rightfully asked Macharia to revoke Ndirangu’s appointment within seven days, failure to which he would move to the High Court to challenge it.
“This is the epitome of impunity and display of utter disregard of the law for the persons that the law expressly bars from sitting in the board of KeNHA to be appointed as chairman of the same board and illegally serves at taxpayers’ expense,” the letter to Mr Macharia on behalf of their client, George Balla noted in part.
In a desperate attempt to defend his unlawfully acquired job, Eng. Ndirangu sought the services of Onyango Oyieko and Co Associates and also wrote to CS Macharia urging him to ignore the correspondences.
In a letter dated 21st April 2022, Eng. Ndirangu, through the shoddy law firm, proceeded to launch a series of scathing and unfounded attacks on the legal officers who questioned the legal reasoning behind his appointment, describing them as “malicious individuals”.
Instead of legally responding to the issues raised, they went all out in defaming the petitioner, Mr George Balla, which was frankly unnecessary.
They even went to the heights of hysterically arguing that since the lawyer in question is a state officer, he is for some reason barred from blowing the whistle on the blatant contravention of the law by claiming he was acting against the state.
Apart from hopelessly blackmailing CS Macharia to spare his job, he raised no consequential reason as to why he should be holding the position in the first place.
Meanwhile, the KeNHA Board of Directors was recently reported to be planning a meeting in a bid to put an end to the disorder threatening to bring activities at the state agency to a complete halt.
This blog will be closely monitoring these unfolding events and provide extensive coverage on how things pan out.
It is our trust that this outright atrocity should be immediately rectified.
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