KENYA – The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has revealed that its Managing Director, Mr. Bernard Njiraini, has resumed office pending a final court decision.
“Thank you for this information however the MD Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard N. Njiraini is back in the office,” read the tweet.
The response follows High Court’s suspension of a decision that quashed the appointment of Mr. Njiraini as Chief Executive Officer of KEBS and the board of the National Standards Council (NSC).
Justice Jacob Gakeri ruled that Mr Njiraini whose appointment was nullified last week should remain in office, pending the determination of an appeal he had filed.
Consequent to the High Court’s annulment of Mr. Njiraini’s appointment, Esther Ngari had been appointed as the Acting Managing Director of KEBS.
Ms. Ngari has been serving as the Director of Standards Development and Trade at the agency. She, through KEBS, has been at the forefront of championing for the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“Yes, we confirm that our Director Standards Development and Trade, Esther Ngari has been appointed the Ag. Managing Director and will continue to hold office until the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development advises otherwise,” said Zeyana Mohamed, KEBS Communications Manager.
According to Business Daily, Justice Maureen Onyango of the Employment and Labour Relations Court quashed the appointment of Mr. Njiraini, stating that he was handpicked contrary to the law, yet the process should be open to public participation.
Okiya Omtatah, a Human Rights Activist, also argued that Mr. Njiraini was not subjected to a transparent and merit-based process claiming that he came in sixth position during the interviews for the job, hence did not deserve the position.
Mr. Njiraini took over from Benard Nguyo who was holding the position in an acting capacity. Mr. Nguyo, had stepped in after the removal of Charles Ongwae who was accused of abuse of office.
He and other senior officials were arrested by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in 2018 over the importation of substandard fertilizer suspected to be laced with mercury and circulation of fake KEBS stamps. They denied the charges and were released on bail.
The judge also revoked the appointment of members of the National Standards Council (NSC), saying their recruitment was not subjected to public participation.
The judge directed the trade ministry and Attorney General Kihara Kariuki to ensure that the new chairperson and new independent members of NSC are appointed strictly in compliance with the constitution and national legislation.
The KEBS Board of Directors is known as the National Standards Council (NSC). It is the policy-making body for supervising and controlling the administration and financial management of the Bureau.
“Regarding whether KEBS is searching for a new boss, this part of the question should be directed to the Ministry which is the appointing authority,” said Zeyana.