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Deputy CBK boss’ new Bamburi term turns focus on State officers

Central Bank of Kenya deputy governor Sheila M’Mbijiwe. PHOTO | FILE
Central Bank of Kenya deputy governor Sheila M’Mbijiwe. PHOTO | FILE 

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) deputy governor Sheila M’Mbijiwe has been re-elected to the board of Bamburi Cement, a move likely to renew debate on whether civil servants should serve as directors in private companies.

The 58-year-old senior CBK executive—who also sits on the banking regulator’s Monetary Policy Committee—won another term to serve as director during Bamburi’s annual general meeting held last month.

Bamburi, controlled by Swiss giant LafargeHolcim, said in a regulatory filing dated July 1 that shareholders “unanimously resolved” to re-elect Ms M’Mbijiwe to the nine-member board.

Ms M’Mbijiwe, who has served as Bamburi Cement director for more than a decade, is also a member of the cement-maker’s board audit committee.

The Constitution bars public servants who are paid from taxpayers’ money from taking up any other gainful employment.

Bamburi declined to respond to our queries on the continued board membership of Ms M’Mbijiwe despite public service duties at CBK including the crucial MPC – the body which sets Kenya’ macroeconomic policy, influencing inflation and interest rates that affect the economy.

“A member of a commission or holder of an independent office, unless ex-officio or part time, shall not hold any other office or employment for profit whether public or private,” states Article 250 (6) (b) of the Constitution.

There are six non-executive directors at Bamburi who pocketed a total of Sh4 million in director fees in the period to December 2015.

“Directors are expected to attend all meetings of the board and the committees on which they serve and to devote sufficient time to the company to perform their duties,” Bamburi says in the latest annual report.

Ms M’Mbijiwe’s fresh term turns the spotlight on other civil servants serving as directors in private companies including Export Promotion Council (EPC) general manager Lucy Waithaka who chairs Eveready East Africa and sits on the board of Sasini.

However, a majority of public servants have quit the boards of private companies where they do not represent the interests of the public.
They include Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo who recently quit Britam’s board.

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