Kenya Bureau of Standards managing director Bernard Njiraini and the chairman of the National Standards Council (NSC) Bernard Ngore have defended their appointments, saying they have the knowledge and expertise to handle the jobs.
In reply to a suit filed by activist Okiya Omtatah, the two said their appointments were above board, based on their performance in previous jobs and not out of favouritism as claimed by Mr Omtatah.
Mr Omtatah also wants the Employment Court to quash the naming of six other members of the NSC — which is the Kebs board of directors — arguing that they were not subjected to a transparent, competitive and merit-based process.
He argues that Mr Ngore and the six were handpicked contrary to the law, yet the process should be open to public participation.
Through a gazette notice on November 14, 2019, the Cabinet Secretary for Industry and Trade appointed the members without subjecting them to a transparent and merit based process.
The CS also named Mr Ngore as the chairperson of NSC for a period of three years, and revoked that of Ken Wathome Mwatu.
Peter Munya was the Trade and Industry CS when the appointments were made.
The activist argues that Mr Mwatu was a presidential appointee and the CS cannot purport to revoke such as an appointment because he cannot override the President. “There is absolutely no way that the Cabinet secretary could validly override the President’s appointment,” he said.
He further said Mr Ngore is seriously conflicted in his regulatory functions because he is the founder and CEO of Top Quality Motors Ltd, which is involved in importation of motor vehicle spare parts.
He is also the immediate former chairperson of the Kenya Motor Repairs Association, he added.
Mr Omtatah further claimed that Mr Njiraini came in sixth position during the interviews for the job, hence did not deserve the position.
But Mr Njiraini through lawyer Titus Koceyo dismissed the claims, stating that he emerged top as the most qualified candidate in a valid and procedural process.
The court directed the case to be heard on June 6.
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