CS Macharia set to name New Railways MD

Philip Mainga |PHOTO: Courtesy

BY PRUDENCE WANZA- Kenya Railways will get a new Managing Director (MD) following the expiry of the contract of disgraced former MD Athanus Maina.

Maina’s contract ends on December 31st and the Kenya Railways board has already identified three names which have already been forwarded to the Transport CS James Macharia.

Uzalendo has established that acting MD Phillip Mainga is among the nominees for the position, forwarded by the new Kenya Railways board Chairman, General Pastal Awita,former Navy Commander.

Ironically, Mainga had been rejected by the KR board, then chaired by Michael Waweru. CS Macharia approved the decision but later changed his mind.

Mainga tops the list of names forwarded by the Kenya Railways board after he impressed during the preliminary interviews contacted by a leading audit firm.

But it was not easy for Mainga. He had to navigate major tuff battled with a section of the board led by former Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General Michael Waweru, the then Kenya Railway board chairman.

It so happened that some quarters within the ministry were uncomfortable with Mainga.

As a result, a special board meeting was held to discuss Mainga’s performance as the acting CEO.

The board resolved to remove Mainga from the helm of KR and wrote to Macharia requesting that a Mr. Wachira be appointed to the position.

Macharia dully obliged and allowed the board to effect the changes.

In a letter dated April 17, 2019 addressed to Waweru, the CS appointed Mr Samuel Gachuhi as the acting Managing Director for a period of four months.

“The purpose of this letter is therefore to advise that I have appointed Mr. Samuel Gachuhi as the Acting Managing Director of Kenya Railways for a period of four months as you commence the professional process of appointing a substantive Managing Director.” Read the letter

Macharia further directed the Waweru to commence the recruitment of a Managing Director within the guidelines of the law.

Michael Waweru the former Kenya Railways Board Chair |PHOTO: Courtesy

That is when Mainga struck. He reportedly engaged the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and spilled the beans on conflict of interest actions informing some board members and their relatives.

The DCI swung into action and summoned Mr. Waweru and the entire board for grilling. The matter is still being investigated. But Mr. Waweru was sacked as the board chair and replaced by General….

Incidentally, Waweru was the first civilian to chair the KR board after General Mahmoud Mohammed and General Kianga.

So what strings did Mainga pull?

He was instrumental in the completion of the SGR project from Mombasa to Nairobi and Nairobi to Suswa.

He is also very much involved in railway improvement projects in Kisumu…the headquarters of the Handshake.

Mainga is a key witness in the ongoing probe affecting Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director and the board.

Uzalendo has established that more than 60 people applied for the vacant position.

At least 60 candidates have applied for the position of the managing director at Kenya Railways Corporation, after it was declared vacant by the board.

In a notice published in the local dailies last month, KRC said interested and qualified candidates must have at least 15 years working experience in public service or in a large and reputable organisation in the private sector.

The candidates were also required to possess good oral and written communication skills, and must meet the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution on integrity and Article 10 on national values and principles.

The position fell vacant last August 2018 after the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives arrested and charged Mr Maina alongside former National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Muhammad Swazuri and 23 other former commission officials over alleged corruption.

Their arrests were linked to fraudulent compensation for land acquired by the commission for the construction of the Mombasa Southern Bypass and Kipevu New Highway Container Terminal link road in 2013.

The land, which belonged to Tornado Carriers Limited, was initially valued at Sh34,501,110 in 2015 but the commission ended up paying Sh109,769,363 after Dr Swazuri ordered a second valuation.

According to the Director of Public Prosecutions, taxpayers’ money was lost in fraudulent compensation for five pieces of public land the government acquired to build the railway.

IMAGE: Courtesy