How could this happen?
One of the Â 302 parastatals bossesÂ Â recently appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta is Mr. Chris Kuto.Â Mr Kuto is a former and long-serving Director General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).
During his tenure, a lot of corruption and land-grabbing occurred especially on land belonging to the airports and the KCAA itself.
He is back at the helm and strangely so as a board member of KCAA. In the new capacity, Mr. Kuto is a policy-maker and part of the apex team to right the Authority’s past wrongs. Really?
The matter Mr. Chris Kuto’s appointment to KCAA Board raises serious issues of conflict of interest as follows:
First, Mr. Kuto is a former DG, KCAA. It is well known within the aviation industry in Kenya that KCAA lost their land to land grabbers during Mr. Kuto’s tenure .
An example, according to our sources who have requested not to be named, is the land where Nairobi’s Lang’ata Road based Weston Hotel now sits. This hotel has in the past been associated with DP Mr Ruto who through a Mr Osero denied owning it.
If questions must be asked: Will Mr Kuto dispute that the said parcel of land did not originally belong to KCAA?
As the Director General of the Authority at that time, what did Mr. Kuto do to protect KCAA land? Was Mr. Kuto part of the land-grabbers? Is that why he remains remains mum onÂ KCAA land saga?
It is, therefore, shocking and unacceptable that beforeÂ theÂ land issue is resolved, Mr. Kuto has already found his way through the back-door as KCAAÂ Board member.
In recommending his appointment, what was his brief? To protect the status quo? Who makes suchÂ appointments without properly checking on some important facts regarding appointees?
Incidentally, the appointment of Mr Kuto came when billionaire Jacob Juma of Cortec Mining Ltd had already filed a suit in the High Court regarding the matter of KCAA land. Juma wants the land to return to Kenya Airports Authority.
Second,Â in 2003 an aircraft belonging to African Commuter Services crashed in Busia area thereby resulting in the death of Labour Minister the NARC government and injuring many prominent personalities including Ms Martha Karua and Lady Justice Martha Koome.Â
The ill-fated Gulfstream plane was heading to Nairobi after a visit by various prominent personalities to former Vice President Mr Moody Awori’s Busia home.
As a result of that accident, KCAA through Mr. Kuto, cancelled the operating license of African Commuter Services.Â The Muthoga Commission blamed the tragic accident on human error poor condition of the Busia airstrip.
Later on, the Airline (African Commuter Services) took KCAA to court for loss of business due to what it thought was unprocedural cancellation of their license.
The Court agreed with African Commuter Services and awarded them Sh1 billion against KCAA for loss of business.Â This was because KCAA, under Mr. Kuto, did not contest the matter in Court orÂ had put in a very weak defence.
The most shocking issue is that Mr. Kuto upon leaving KCAA allegedly became the “Chairman of the same airline, African Commuter Services”.
This was the very airlineÂ that took KCAA to court under Mr. Kuto’s watch. The liability to KCAA arising from the court ruling now stands at Sh1.2 billion.
KCAA is yet to pay because they have appealed against the award to Court of Appeal.
How then can Mr. Kuto be appointed to the Board of KCAA when he is alleged to be the Chairman of an airline which is demanding Sh1.2 billion from KCAA?
This is a clear example of conflicts of interest.Â A reknown blogger already accused Mr Kuto of illegally transferring the KCAA land to Weston Hotel.
Third, to a lesser extent Mr. Kuto having served in KCAA as Director General should not have returned toÂ the same Authority as a Board member because during his tenure he made what our sources indicate as “many enemies within and outside the Authority”.
As a result, employees he left in KCAA may have adverse feeling against him.
CofekÂ appeals to President Uhuru Kenyatta to order the Acting Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure Mr James Macharia to immediately revoke Mr Chris Kuto’sÂ appointment to the board of KCAA.
Our attempts to reach Mr James Macharia, acting CS for Transport and Infrastructure and KCAA Chairman Mr Samuel Poghisio were unsuccessful.
Mr Macharia was said to be in a meeting while Mr Poghisio did not pick his call.