National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has rejected the names of those shortlisted for the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director’s position.
Last week, the KPA board, led by the chairperson General (Rtd) Joseph Kibwana, interviewed six candidates and submitted three names to Yatani from which he was to pick one for the job.
However, on Tuesday Yatani, wrote back to Kibwana saying the shortlisted candidates had failed to meet the required threshold to be appointed to the lucrative position.
Yatani supervises the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) a mega State agency which now oversees the operations of KPA, Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) and Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC).
ICDC in turn oversees rail, pipeline and port operations, all brought together under the Kenya Transport and Logistics Network (KTLN) formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta through an Executive Order last August.
Under the new arrangement, ICDC plays the role of a holding company for Kenya Ports Authority, KRC and KPC.
“I have reviewed the list of the names, scores and ranking of the candidates proposed for the appointment as Managing Director, Kenya Ports Authority, and note that all the candidates scored below the desired threshold of 70 per cent in the interview,” said Yatani.
He subsequently directed the KPA board to undertake a fresh recruitment of the Managing Director and conclude the exercise within 45 days from the date of his letter dated March 2.
Sources within KPA said those whose names were submitted to Yatani after the interviews included Sylvester Kasuku, who is the former Chief Executive Officer of Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) project.
The other two are; Principal Secretary at Ministry of Gender Mwanamaka Mabruki and Murshid Rashid, who is a maritime expert. The two tied with 67 per cent, whereas Kasuku came in third with 63 per cent.
Mwanamaka, an economist, initially worked at KPA serving as a principal officer in the finance department.
Calls to Kibwana to confirm receipt of the letter went unanswered neither did not respond to text messages.
KPA acting managing director Rashid Salim declined to comment saying the matter was beyond him.
“What I know for sure is that the interviews were done, but I do not know about the fate of those who were shortlisted. It’s only the chairperson, who is currently in a meeting, can talk to you about that,” said Salim.
KPA has remained without a substantive Managing Director since Dr Daniel Manduku resigned on March 26, last year.
Salim, who has been acting for almost one year, did not apply for the position and has on several occasions indicated that he had his own reservations.
The process to recruit a new MD kicked off in April last year, but was later suspended following the outbreak of Covid-19.
At least 150 applicants, including former KPA middle level managers, had applied for the position.