The chairman of Shelter Afrique has overturned the termination of his managing director’s contract, signalling a boardroom split over the on-going search for a new head of the home-financing firm.
Corneille Karekezi, who was elevated to chair the firm in November last year, on Wednesday said the current managing director, Alassane Ba, will serve his full term that will come to an end in June next year.
The firm on January 12 placed adverts in the local and international media in search for a new CEO and head of finance following a board decision in December last year to replace Mr Ba in June — a year before the end of his contract.
Mr Ba is locked in a court battle over his alleged assault of the Shelter Afrique’s finance director Karen Kandie, whose contract was not renewed following its expiry in November.
“Mr Alassane Ba, following a board resolution on November 2012, will remain in office until his contract expires in June 2014,” said Mr Karekezi in a press notice on Wednesday.
“Senior management will continue to be supported by the board under the stewardship of its newly appointed chairman Corneille Karekezi, who took over from Elias Mpondela in November.”
The statement did to talk about the vacancy notices that also appeared in The Economist magazine and it is in conflict with comments attributed Tirop Kosgey, a director at Shelter Afrique and Kenya’s representative in the board of the housing financier.
“The term of the Finance Director expired end of November while the Board in early December decided to terminate the contract of the chief executive and replace him in June 2013,” said Mr Kosgey in a January 17 interview with the Business Daily.
“We decided to let both of them go and pursue their criminal investigations and proceedings in private. This decision was arrived at in order to ensure balance in handling the matter since only the two were in the room when the incident happened,” added Mr Kosgey, who is also the permanent secretary in the Housing ministry.
The mortgage firm appointed an independent investigator in July following claims that Mr Ba assaulted Ms Kandie — a spat that is in court and has seen MPs call for Mr Ba’s deportation.
(Read: Shelter Afrique board sets up probe on Alassane Ba)
But the investigation failed to identify who between the two executives was in the wrong, prompting the search for their replacements, according to Mr Kosgey. Shelter Afrique has a membership of 44 African countries, the African Development Bank and the Africa Re-Insurance Corporation.
Mr Ba is alleged to have physically assaulted Ms Kandie in his office on June 28 last year. In her statement to the police, Ms Kandie claimed this happened when she went to consult him regarding her end-of-year performance appraisals.
The claims kicked off a diplomatic storm after Shelter Afrique faulted Foreign Affairs PS Thuita Mwangi and director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko for calling for the arrest of Mr Ba.
The financier reckoned that Mr Ba enjoys diplomatic immunity that protects him from prosecution. Shelter Afrique argued that Mr Ba had been accused of wrongdoing before the conclusion of investigations.
Mr Ba moved to court and obtained orders stopping his arrest after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised that his diplomatic immunity could not stand in cases of assault and other criminal offences.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga also sought to have Mr Ba’s diplomatic immunity revoked or have him face the law over assault claims.