New aviation boss after judge rejects suit against hiring


Kenya Civil Aviation Authority director-general Emile Arao. PHOTO | COURTESY | CASSOA

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) director-general Emile Arao has assumed office after a court dismissed a petition that an NGO had filed to stop his appointment last week.

Mr Arao — a US-trained aircraft engineer, aviation veteran and businessman — has finally replaced Gilbert Kibe who left the agency last month after completing his term.

The KCAA board had appointed Nicholas Bodo, a Ministry of Transport executive, as the acting director-general of the State corporation while the dispute over Mr Arao’s appointment was before the court.

The High Court declined to stop the appointment of Mr Arao, saying the petition Kazi Mtaani na Shadrack Wambui, the NGO, filed was not compelling enough.

“He has finally taken office from Mr Kibe. A petition that was filed to block his appointment has been dismissed by the Employment and Labour Relations Court,” a source at the KCAA told the Business Daily on Monday.

The petitioner moved to court to block Transport Cabinet secretary James Macharia’s appointment in March.

The NGO claimed that a report by the Arusha-based East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) had indicted Mr Arao of poor management and possible embezzlement of funds at the East African Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (EAC-Cassoa).

Employment and Labour Relations Court judge David Nderitu, however, ruled that there was no evidence of these allegations of mismanagement at his previous work station.

The judge said he was not satisfied the petitioner had demonstrated an arguable case with a likelihood of success, arguing that the court is not an investigating body.

“In view of all that is stated above, the conservatory orders sought by the petitioner in the notice of motion dated March 14, 2022, are hereby denied,’’ said the judge in a ruling delivered on May 10.

Mr Arao has been battling allegations of incompetence and misuse of finances at Cassoa after the East African Legislative Assembly, in an audit report, fingered him over poor management of finances and recommended he be held accountable.

He, however, countered that if there was wastage or theft of funds, the audited financial statement and management letter would have led to a qualification of the accounts, which did not happen.

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