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Kemoli resigns as director and chair of Bamburi Cement

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PHOTO | FILE Bamburi chairman Richard Kemoli. Mr Kemoli leaves Bamburi Cement at a time when his name has prominently featured in the vicious boardroom wars at CMC Holdings, where he was a director until last year.

PHOTO | FILE Bamburi chairman Richard Kemoli. Mr Kemoli leaves Bamburi Cement at a time when his name has prominently featured in the vicious boardroom wars at CMC Holdings, where he was a director until last year.  Nation Media Group

By RAWLINGS OTINI

Posted  Thursday, November 29  2012 at  20:43

In Summary

  • In May, Bamburi indicated that the cement firm has appointed two executives from Lafarge to sit on its board.
  • Thomas Farrell, the operations executive vice president at Lafarge, and Ms Catherine Langreney, the CEO of Lafarge Tanzania, are the new directors--pushing the French conglomerate representatives to five in the 11 member board.
  • Bamburi’s half year net profit dropped 13.5 per cent to Sh2.5 billion in the period to June while its share price has gained 23.45 per cent over the past six months to Sh179 million.

Businessman Richard Kemoli has quit the board of Bamburi Cement, ending a boardroom career that spanned more than two decades at the Nairobi bourse-listed company.

A statement by the cement maker to the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) said John Simba, a lawyer with Simba &Simba Advocates, had replaced Mr Kemoli, 76, in board changes that took effect immediately.

“The board has accepted the resignation of Richard Kemoli as a director of the company,” said Bamburi in a statement to the NSE without disclosing details.

Mr Kemoli leaves Bamburi Cement at a time when his name has prominently featured in the vicious boardroom wars at CMC Holdings, where he was a director until last year.

It was not clear whether the CMC boardroom wars had played any role in Mr Kemoli’s exit from Bamburi but observers were quick to point out that the framing of the letter announcing his exit was curious.

Last week, Unga Limited told shareholders that Mr Kemoli along with influential businessman Jeremiah Kiereini, 82, resigned from the board of NSE-listed miller in response to a directive by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) barring the two and six others from holding directorship in companies listed on the Nairobi bourse.

The CMA accused Mr Kemoli for negating his responsibility to act following allegations that the former chairman of CMC was trading and over billing the motor dealer and that in his watch as a director, the auto firm operated illegal offshore accounts worth more than Sh250 million.

The existence of the cash was first disclosed last year by CMC’s new chief executive Bill Lay, prompting a forensic audit by South African firm Weber Wentzwel commissioned by CMA.

The audit report prompted the capital markets regulator to ban former CMC directors from citing on the boards of NSE-listed firms.

Besides Mr Kiereini and Mr Kemoli, other affected directors are Mr Martin Forster, Peter Muthoka, Charles Njonjo, Sobakchand Shah, and Andrew Hamilton. Mr Joseph Kivai was only disqualified as a director of CMC Holdings.

Mr Kiereini has since moved to court seeking orders to overturn the ban imposed on him by the CMA.

Mr Kemoli has in the past 18 months quit the boards of CMC Motors and EABL, but remains a director at Kakuzi Limited.

He termed the CMA decision as one to be deliberated before a court of law.

“To me, it is (CMA’s move) an announcement, but to you (the media and the public), it is a decision they made,” said Mr Kemoli in an earlier interview with the Daily Nation.

His exit from the board comes in a year that has seen Lafarge, which owns 58.4 per cent of Bamburi cement — tighten its grip on the board of the cement maker.

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