Kebs standards head picked as acting MD


A Kenya Bureau of Standards sign in Nyeri town. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina has appointed Esther Ngari as the acting managing director of Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) after the appointment of Benard Njiraini was revoked by the High Court last week.

The standards agency said on Wednesday that Ms Ngari has taken over the position in an acting capacity.

Ms Ngari is an insider at the agency and has been the Director of standards development and trade.

“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 Kebs communications manager Zeyana Mohamed.

“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.”

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Mr Njiraini whose appointment was revoked by the court last week because he was handpicked by the then appointing authority contrary to the law, took over from Benard Nguyo who was holding the position in an acting capacity.

Mr Nguyo, in turn, had stepped in after the removal of Charles Ongwae who was accused of abuse of office.

He and other senior officials were arrested by sleuths from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in 2018 over the importation of substandard fertiliser suspected to be laced with mercury and circulation of fake Kebs stamps.

They denied the charges and were released on bail.

Ms Ngari is taking over as the new Acting boss at Kebs barely a few days after Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Maurine Onyango revoked the appointment of Mr Njiraini.

Public participation

Justice Onyango revoked Mr Njiraini’s appointment saying he was handpicked contrary to the law, yet the process should be open to public participation.

The judge also revoked the appointment of members of the National Standards Council (NSC), saying their recruitment was not subjected to public participation.

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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.

Activist Okiya Omtatah had challenged the appointments arguing that the officials were not subjected to a transparent and merit-based process.

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