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Government in court battle over Bill Lay Portland appointment

13 February 2014, 14:42 Millicent Kawii

Nairobi - The government has accused the East African Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) of following a wrong procedure in taking its directors’ dispute to court.

The government through lawyer Kamau Karori said yesterday that the director’s battle was only approved through a voting decision of a minimal number of three members of the board instead of the required four.

Mr Karori also said during the hearing of the case which the Cement Company has sued the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) that the Company’s Managing Director Kefa Tande has been excluded in the court documents of the suit.

“The resolution by the board was passed by only three board members out of seven although at this point six are in office, the resolution required to be passed by at least four directors, it was unprocedural to start these court proceedings,” said Mr Karori.

He also claimed that the appointment of Mr Didier Tresarrieu as a director had been suspended by December 18 last year.

EAPCC however claimed that four directors passed the decision and that legal court documents have been sworn by the Board’s Chair Mark Kitaanyu Ole Karbolo and the Company Secretary John Maonga.

EAPCC argues that the dispute landed in court following a resolution made last December instructing the start of the court proceedings through an email circulated to all company directors.

“Resolution was signed by four directors out of a majority of seven; we have submitted resolution as signed by the four directors, what should be considered is who signed the resolution and the number of directors made the approval by way of receiving communication via email,” EAPCC’s lawyer said.

The Cement Company defended Mr Tresarrieu saying that there has never been any suspension with regards to his appointment and that he is duly registered by the registrar of companies.

EAPCC also claims that there was a letter written to CMA on December 20 last year, clarifying on the issue.

According to EAPCC CMA is a regulator who should act independently without supporting either party.

On Monday the government presented Mr William Bill Lay as the firm’s new chairman hours before Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi issued orders quashing President Kenyatta’s gazette notice appointing Mr Lay and ruled that Mr Karbolo continue as chairman of the EAPCC pending the determination of a case filed by the outgoing chairman, Mr Mark Kitaanyu Ole Karbolo.

Industrialization Principal Secretary Wilson Song while presenting Mr Lay as the new EAPCC chairman at the company’s headquarters in Athi River said the decision to cut short Mr Karbolo’s term was informed by the poor performance of Portland, which is Kenya’s second biggest cement maker after Bamburi.

“The only authorized person to swear affidavits of this suit is Mr Kambi, any document must have a sign a seal authorized or signed by him, the Company ought not to be held responsible of this case” Mr Karori told court.

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