The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Nkedianye Defends Portland Cement Boss

TWO Kajiado politicians have pledged to "protect" East African Portland Cement Company managing director. Area MP Joseph Nkaissery and Governor David Nkedianye on Wednesday said there is a plot by influential individuals to eject Kephar Tande from office.

The two were speaking during the handing over of a health facility to the Maasai community at Bisil in Kajiado. The facility was constructed by the EAPCC through its corporate social responsibility programme.

Nkaissery cautioned those behind the plot on Tande to watch out. He said Tande has improved the company's profit since he took over as MD in 2011.

"What kind of a saint are they looking for if Tande turned around a company that was in a mess to a profit making organization?" asked Nkaissery.

Nkedianye told those alleged to be fighting Tande to stop politicizing EAPCC issues just for the sake of it. "Portland is now making profits more than before and it is wrong for those bent on malice to interfere with the good work the MD is doing," said Nkedianye.

East African Portland Cement Company went to court late last year, seeking to lift the suspension of its annual general meeting resolutions by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), according to newspaper reports.

The company argued that the CMA lacks the mandate to suspend the resolutions since AGMs are overseen by the Registrar of Companies.

CMA suspended the resolutions by shareholders last month following a protest from the government, which is the majority shareholder.

The government argued that its voting rights were not acknowledged when EAPCC chairman Mark ole Karbolo adopted a show of hands, instead of number of shares held, to approve the day's business.

The primary point of contention was the appointment of Didier Tresarrieu to represent Lafarge, the third largest principal shareholder, against the wishes of the government which wanted former CMC chief executive officer Bill Lay in the board.

In the papers filed in court, the government accused French conglomerate Lafarge of compromising some of the State appointees in a bid to control the board through the backdoor.

The Treasury and NSSF jointly own 52 per cent while Lafarge owns 42 per cent, leaving six per cent in the hands of minority shareholders.

Later on, High Court Judge George Odunga ordered that the status quo be maintained and directed the parties to respond by January 15 when the case was expected to be heard.

CMA launched investigations into claims of creative accounting and breach of corporate governance rules during the EAPCC's AGM on December 17 following protests from the Treasury and the NSSF.

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