11 August 2014

Kenya: Koskei Fires KMC Board Members As Firm Struggles

TEN directors of troubled state corporation Kenya Meat Commission have been sacked. The move comes a month after a Cabinet directive endorsed sacking of bosses of public firms that are performing poorly among them National Cereals and Produce Board, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and KMC.

In a Gazette notice published Friday, Agriculture Cabinet secretary Felix Koskei revoked the appointment of Grace Mwema, Aden Hassan, David Kalasinga, Amina Kuno and radio personality Fred Machoka to the KMC board.

Others whose appointments were revoked are Nicholas Lesokoyo, Hassan Jillo, Halima Shaiya, David Ng'ang'a and Hassan Duale. Acting managing director James Tendwa and recently appointed chairman Taraiya ole Kores are the only ones left at the board to oversee the operations.

The debt ridden parastatal has been facing a financial crisis owing various creditors up to Sh330 million and was almost grinding to a halt. Koskei has recently said the institution will need about Sh700 million for an overhaul to get it back to profitability and competitiveness. Part of the money, about Sh300 million has already been issued by the government, to help sustain operations by maintaining supplies.

The CS blamed the financial crisis on years of funds misuse by KMC's management board that was appointed by the former regime and immediately appointed an acting MD, Tendwa and a new chairman, Kores.

Inside sources at the troubled KMC in Athi River yesterday claimed the board was revoked after the Jubilee government felt that the team appointed by the former Mwai Kibaki regime had failed to deliver even after the government pumped in more money to the parastatal.

Aside from years of mismanagement, KMC has also been weighed down by use of old technology which have seen it operate below potential capacity.

According to a Cabinet meeting held last month where performance contracting Evaluation Results of 2012-13 were discussed, it was noted that 40 per cent of the 188 state owned corporations had over the years continued to perform dismally.

An unspecified number of staff at KMC, our source revealed, may soon be sent packing as part of the government's plan to restructure the troubled meat processor.

Koskei said early this year that the state firm is "too bloated" and that a new restructuring plan will see some of the workers who are not adding value to the company sent home.

Recently KMC said it has received numerous inquiries from various corporate clients globally with the most promising one coming from a Chinese food company that visited the institution in Athi River and livestock keeping areas of Narok, and Northern Kenya.

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