Legislative assembly

New aviation boss after judge rejects hiring suit

Economy

New aviation boss after judge rejects hiring suit


Emile Arao, Chief Executive of the Civil Aviation Authority of Kenya. PICTURES | COURTESY | CASSOA

Summary

  • Mr Arao – a US-trained aeronautical engineer, aviation veteran and businessman – eventually replaced Gilbert Kibe who left the agency last month after completing his term.
  • The KCAA board had appointed Nicholas Bodo, a Transport Ministry executive, as the state-owned company’s acting chief executive while the dispute over Mr Arao’s appointment was before the court.
  • The High Court declined to stop Mr Arao’s nomination, saying the petition filed by Kazi Mtaani na Shadrack Wambui, the NGO, was not convincing enough.

The Chief Executive of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), Emile Arao, has taken office after a court dismissed a petition an NGO filed to end his appointment last week.

Mr Arao – a US-trained aeronautical engineer, aviation veteran and businessman – eventually replaced Gilbert Kibe who left the agency last month after completing his term.

The KCAA board had appointed Nicholas Bodo, a Transport Ministry executive, as the state-owned company’s acting chief executive while the dispute over Mr Arao’s appointment was before the court.

The High Court declined to stop Mr Arao’s nomination, saying the petition filed by Kazi Mtaani na Shadrack Wambui, the NGO, was not convincing enough.

“He eventually took over from Mr. Kibe. A motion that was filed to block his appointment was dismissed by the Labor and Labor Relations Court, a source told KCAA. business daily Monday.

The petitioner went to court to block the appointment of Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia in March.

The NGO claimed that a report by the Arusha-based East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) charged Mr. Arao with mismanagement and possible embezzlement at the Security Watch Agency. East African Civil Aviation Safety and Security (EAC-Cassoa).

Employment and Labor Relations Tribunal judge David Nderitu, however, ruled there was no evidence of the allegations of mismanagement at his former job.

The judge said he was not convinced that the petitioner had demonstrated an arguable case with a likelihood of success, arguing that the court was not an investigative body.

“In light of all of the foregoing, the conservatory orders requested by the petitioner in the March 14, 2022 Notice of Motion are hereby denied,” the judge said in a May 10 decision.

Mr Arao has battled allegations of incompetence and misuse of finances in Cassoa after the East African Legislative Assembly in an audit report pointed the finger at him for mismanagement of finances and recommended that he be held accountable.

He however countered that if there had been waste or theft of funds, the audited financial statements and the management letter would have led to a qualification of the accounts, which did not happen.

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