Court approves Bill Lay appointment as Portland chair
20 February 2014, 17:57
Nairobi - The High court has approved the appointment of Bill Lay as chairman of the East African Portland Cement Company.
Lay had been barred from office Monday by High court judge Mumbi Ngugi, who stated that his appointment was improper since there was a court order stopping appointments to the position in place.
Mark Karbolo, the previous chairman had moved to court the previous week and secured an order quashing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s earlier decision to sack him through a special gazette notice.
“In the interest of the company neither Mr Mark Karbolo nor Mr William Lay exercise the power of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the East African Portland Cement Ltd pending the ruling of this court in February 2014,” read the court order.
But in a ruling Thursday, the judge threw out Karbolo's plea to remain in office, saying president Uhuru Kenyatta had express powers to appoint the chairman of the body and that there was nothing wrong with the procedure taken in revoking his appointment.
dismissing the case filed by the former board’s chair Mr Mark Karbolo’s on
behalf of the Cement Company, judge Ngugi said the case was a mere
reaction to the President’s appointment in pursuit of his own interests not the
find that the President has powers in appointing a board Chair or director of a
state corporation or revoking both, Mr Karbolo clearly intended to protect his
personal interests which would have been better for him to find an appropriate
forum to discuss his removal from office,” said judge Ngugi.
judge ordered that Mr Karbolo’s caters for the costs of the suit and not the
the suit, EAPCC has sued the Capital Markets Authority, the Attorney General
and the National Social Security Fund challenging the presidential appointment
of the former CMC boss Mr Lay.
suit follows the suspension of the resolution of a December shareholder meeting
which included confirmation of books of account, election of directors and
payment of dividends.
Karbolo had argued that Mr Lay was defeated in the government’s quest to have
him become a director of Portland Cement in last December’s AGM by Mr Didier
Tresarrieu, whose appointment has been frozen.
Karbolo also argued that the President had overstepped his mandate in sending
him home yet there was a court order in place saying the composition of the
Portland board should be left as it is.
had earlier ordered that the board’s chair office should temporarily not be
resumed by either of the two.
government represented by CMA, the AG and the NSSF, insisted that the powers
acted within his mandate and that Mr Karbolo should have instead sought for
Karbolo’s ouster, announced in a special gazette notice temporarily gave the
government control of the cement firm’s board but set the stage for the court
President dipped into EACC’s board wrangles by replacing Mr Karbolo with Mr Lay
with regards to his powers as in the State Corporation Act.
Mr Karbolo succeeded, President Uhuru’s decision to fire Mr Karbolo would have
tilted the Portland board in favour of the government, which allegedly has been
trying to take control of the cement firm’s boardroom dominated by
Karbolo had been sacked due to what the government described as under-performance at the firm.
Lay's ascention to office will thus pave the way for a number of structural changes, with the government set to try lift the struggling cement producer which lies behind Bamburi cement as the second biggest producer.
It is also expected that current CEO Kephar Tande will be shown the door after a number of high profile scandals took place under his watch.
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