Kenya: Keter Suffers Blow in Bid to Make Call on Epra Boss

21 September 2020

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter has suffered a blow after Parliament thwarted his attempt to appoint the chief executive of the energy sector regulator without consultation.

Mr Keter wanted the law changed to allow the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) board forward three candidates from which he would choose one to head the energy watchdog.

The Energy Act currently requires the Epra board to appoint the chief executive after consulting the Cabinet Secretary.

Parliament, through the Leader of Majority Amos Kimunya struck out the proposed amendment arguing it contradicts the Mwongozo Code of Conduct for State Corporations.

House Speaker Justin Muturi ruled that, the proposals relating to the Energy Act, 2019 also contravene "other government policy directives governing the appointment of chief executive officers of State corporations."

Political interference

The Mwongozo Code of Conduct mandates the board of any parastatal to appoint and remove the chief executive officer.

The code was developed in 2014 to insulate parastatal heads from political interference, which had become the norm in past regimes.

The proposed changes came as the term of the embattled former Epra director-general Pavel Oimeke was drawing to an end.

The Epra board, chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge Jackton Ojwang' , asked Mr Oimeke to step aside on August 17 pending the conclusion of a court case blocking his reappointment to head the regulator for a second term.

Abuse of office

Mr Oimeke, who was has been in office since 2017, is eligible for a second term, but Mr Emmanuel Wanjala went to court arguing that the renewal should not be automatic because of allegations of corruption, losses and abuse of office levelled against him.

Mr Kimunya, who sponsored the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2020, petitioned the National Assembly Speaker seeking consent to withdraw the proposed amendment.

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