Munya on the spot over appointment of Kebs MD

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Kenya Bureau of Standards Managing Director Bernard Njiraini. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP Kenya Bureau of Standards Managing Director Bernard Njiraini.

Members of Parliament have put Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya on the spot over appointment of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) managing director in total disregard of the law.

Documents tabled before the National Assembly Trade and Industry Committee indicate that the current Kebs MD, Mr Bernard Njiraini, emerged sixth in interviews conducted by the National Standards Council between August 19 and August 20, 2019.

According to the report, Mr Geoffrey Karau emerged the best candidate with 76 per cent followed by Mr Nixon Sigei, who scored 74 per cent, and Mr Martin Chesire emerged third with 72 per cent.

Mr Njiraini emerged sixth with 64 per cent.

However, CS Munya in August 30 went ahead to appoint Mr Njiraini the MD following the exit of Mr Charles Ongwae who is facing abuse-of-office charges.

Mr Ongwae was arrested and charged alongside 14 others in a tax evasion swoop by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) at the start of last year.

MPs are now asking how a candidate who was not among the top performers in the interview was appointed and the top three edged out.

The move, according to lawmakers, violates Kebs’ human resources manual which states that only the top three candidates’ names should be forwarded to the CS for consideration of appointment.

Kipkelion West MP Hillary Koskei also questioned the motive of the CS in cancelling the first interviews that were done by audit firm Deloitte.

“The process is marred by irregularities. The position was re-advertised for reasons that this committee must find out. Let merit be the shield for those seeking employment in government,” Mr Koskei said.

He pointed out that Kebs is at the heart of the Kenyan people owing to its mandate of ensuring that goods getting into the country meet the required standards.

The committee asked why Mr Munya rejected Deloitte’s first interviews conducted on March 13, 2019, which placed Nixon Sigei as the best candidate, followed by Martin Chesire and Lukas Meso.

Mr Munya, in a letter dated May 20, 2018, cancelled the entire recruitment process saying, among other reasons, that Deloitte appeared to have applied selection criteria selectively in respect to various candidates and that there were some discrepancies in the summary of some.

The CS then directed the board to conduct a second round of interviews.

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