Moriasi back at Youth fund helm after 3 years in cold

Friday, January 20th, 2023 05:30 | By
Youth Enterprise Fund chief executive Josiah Moriasi. PHOTO/Courtesy

Embattled Youth Enterprise Fund chief executive Josiah Moriasi heaved a sigh of relief yesterday after he was reinstated by Cooperatives and MSME Development Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui.

After about three years in the cold and a bruising court battle.

A jubilant Moriasi was ushered back to his office by Senior Deputy Secretary for MSMEs, Albert Mwaringa who also delivered a message from Chelugui.

Moriasi couldn’t hide his joy after Chelugui reinstated him in compliance with a courtorder that his predecessor, Joe Mucheru had disobeyed after the Employment and Labour

Relations court ruled in his favour in 2020.

In a judgment delivered in June 25, 2020, Lady Justice Hellen Wasilwa ordered that Moriasi be given back his job, indicting the board—in particular—for wrongful and unfair dismissal and contravention of constitutional rights.

Blatantly denied entry

Instead, Mucheru named Benson Muthendi as the acting CEO something that irked the court.

“He was blatantly denied entry to his office and his official car was confiscated…,” the judge said.

“The respondents defied a court order by taking over possession of petitioner’s means of transport,” the judgment read in part.

But despite winning in court, Moriasi was blocked from accessing his office until his triumphant entry yesterday.

In a short press statement, Chelugui said, “I am only doing what is right by complying with the court order which is long overdue.”

“I wish to thank CS Chelugui, PS Susan Mangeni, outgoing Acting CEO Benson Muthendi and the staff for the warm welcome,” said Moriasi.

“I commit to work with you and ensure we remain focused by serving the youth fully and helping the President achieve his transformational agenda,” he said.

On his part, Muthendi thanked the staff for the support they accorded him in the last three years during his tenure.

“I express my deepest gratitude. We made significant milestones and I believe we will continue to attain even more as he takes over leadership,” he said.

Moriasi’s reinstatement follows that of former Kenya Pipeline Company managing director Joe Sang, who returned to office this week almost a month after being acquitted over a Sh1.9 billion Kisumu Oil Jetty case.

New board

Sang’s reinstatement comes barely two weeks after the new board chaired by Faith Bett Boinett declined to renew the contract of Dr Macharia Irungu, who has been the MD over the last three years.

Dr Irungu had in January 2020 taken over from Hudson Andambi who had served as the acting Managing Director since December 2018 following the arrest of Sang and other top managers on allegations of corruption. “There was no expression of interest on your part to have the contract extended or renewed despite an invitation by the board to do so vide the letter dated December 9, 2022 written to you by the board chairperson. Your term lapsed on January 1, 2023 and you are no longer an employee of Kenya Pipeline Company Limited,” Boinett had told Dr Irungu in a letter dated January 13, 2023.

Bett confirmed that Sang has been reinstated but declined to give more details. The former MD reported to the KPC headquarters along Lunga Lunga road in Industrial area early in the morning and held a meeting with senior managers.

Sources intimated to the People Daily that Sang had been reinstated on the grounds that he was pressured to step aside before his contract elapsed, before subsequently being preferred with trumped up charged that were later dismissed by the court.

Sang was arrested on December 7, 2018 alongside five others -former company Secretary Gloria Khafafa, former Head of Procurement Vincent Cheruiyot, Nicholas Gatobu who served as Procurement Manager, General Manager in charge of infrastructure Billy Aseka, and GM Finance Samuel Odonyo-  at the height of “kamata-kamata Friday” and charged before the court.

The six were acquitted on December 6, 2022 by Senior Principal Magistrate Victor Wakumile who observed that the Kisumu oil jetty project was conceived as early as the year 2006 when most of the accused persons had not even joined the company.

More on News