IRA suffers quorum hitch as Treasury delays appointment

Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) CEO Sammy Makove. PHOTO | FILE
Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) CEO Sammy Makove. PHOTO | FILE 

Kenya’s insurance industry regulator is in limbo following a boardroom quorum hitch as the National Treasury secretary Henry Rotich delays appointing members in parastatals under his docket.

The tenure of four ordinary members at The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) lapsed in April this year and the minister is yet to make fresh appointments, grounding operations at the agency tasked with licensing insurers and enforcing standards for the conduct of insurance business in Kenya.

“I will make the appointments by the end of the year,” Mr Rotich told Business Daily in an interview last week.

The quorum for the IRA board to conduct business is five members including at least two ordinary members and excluding the IRA chief executive, according to the Insurance Act.

The Finance minister is to appoint four ordinary members, who are not public officers, to the 11-member IRA board which is heavy in government appointees mostly financial services sector regulators.

The only remaining ordinary member is Maina Murage, who was given a fresh three-year term in July 2012 by then Finance minister Njeru Githae.

Those whose terms lapsed in April this year include Chemutai Murgor, Moses Buyuka Obonyo, Abdulaziz Mohamed and Grace Ngigi— who were all appointed in 2011.

The other current IRA board members are chairman Steve Mainda, IRA chief executive Sammy Makove, Treasury PS Kamau Thugge, Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) boss Edward Odundo, Capital Markets Authority (CMA) acting CEO Paul Muthaura and Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor Njuguna Ndung’u.

The Business Daily established that a large Johannesburg-based banker seeking to begin operations in Kenya is currently hamstrung due to lack of a board to award it an operating licence.

This is the not the only time Mr Rotich has delayed making appointments to State corporations under his docket.

Centum in August was compelled to move to the High Court seeking orders to compel Mr Rotich to appoint members to the six-member Capital Markets Tribunal that had only two officials.

The listed investment firm has filed a suit at the CMA Tribunal challenging the legality of an offer by two British brothers seeking to wholly acquire quoted sisal firm Rea Vipingo.

Lack of team

Mr Rotich then renewed the tenure of chairman Jinaro Kipkemoi Kibet and appointed Laila Macharia and financial consultant Karen Kandie as members as well as Jane Moraa Adogo as secretary.

Mr Rotich in January reconstituted the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) disciplinary team after a long lapse which had stalled investigations into cases of professional misconduct among auditors.

He appointed Uchumi CEO Jonathan Ciano chairman of the disciplinary team along six other members Charity Muya, John Mudany, Eric Odongo, Hannah Wendot Cheptumo, Scolastica Mbilo, and Susan Mudhune.

Lack of the ICPAK disciplinary team had delayed a two-year enquiry into how audit firm Deloitte & Touche handled the financial statements of troubled CMC Motors including a secret account held in the island of Jersey.

Mr Rotich in February appointed five new directors to State-owned lender Consolidated Bank, which had been plagued by lack of a chairman, board and a substantive CEO.

He picked Benson Ateng as chairman and Bertha Joseph Dena, Charles Mbagaya Amira, Evans Gavala Vitisia, Miriam Cherogony and Papius Kirongothi Muhindi as directors.

The terms of two other directors at Retirements Benefits Authority (RBA)—Jacob Onkunya and Thamuda Hassan —also expired in April this year, resulting in a board vacuum at the regulator of pension schemes.

Mr Rotich is yet to replace them in the RBA eight-member board that currently has Kanyi Gachoka as chairman while National Treasury PS Kamau Thugge, CEO Odundo, CMA boss Muthaura, Cleopas Agingu and Agnes Nyaguthie as directors.