KEBS bank accounts frozen over Ksh.2 billion debt


KEBS bank accounts frozen over Ksh.2 billion debt

In Summary

  • The court order to freeze the standards body's account stems from an 11-year court battle with Dubai based firm Geo-Chem Middle East.
  • This comes days after the Supreme Court ordered KEBS to pay the Dubai-based firm Sh2 billion for breach of contract.
  • KEBS had contracted Geo-Chem in 2009 to inspect the quality of petroleum products entering the country at the Mombasa port. The contract was canceled in 2010 after a hike of prices by petroleum dealers.

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) is embroiled in a fierce battle with the judiciary over a KSh.2 billion debt that has seen all its accounts frozen.

The court order to freeze the standards body’s account stems from an 11-year court battle with Dubai based firm Geo-Chem Middle East.

This comes days after the Supreme Court ordered KEBS to pay the Dubai-based firm Ksh.2 billion for breach of contract.

KEBS had contracted Geo-Chem in 2009 to inspect the quality of petroleum products entering the country at the Mombasa port. The contract was canceled in 2010 after a hike of prices by petroleum dealers.

It has been a game of ping pong for KEBS on the corridors of justice, on December 11, Geo-Chem obtained a garnishee order to freeze the body’s accounts.

KEBS successfully challenged the order before Justice John Mativo on December 30, only for the judge to review his decision a day later to reinstate the free order.

As KEBS fights off the Ksh.2 Billion shillings debt, a management crisis continues to rock its boardroom.

Tension between Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina and National Standards Council Chairman Bernard Ngore has filtered into board meetings which are conducted online via Zoom due to the pandemic.

CS Maina is said to have locked out Mr. Ngore from a board meeting via Zoom. In December, 2020, she revoked the appointment of Ngore but was barred by a court order from effecting the changes.

Ngore had been replaced by Kennedy Wathome Mwatu, the former NSC chair. Incidentally Kennedy Wathome Mwatu’s three year contract lapsed on January 16, 2021.

“I was not sent the Zoom meeting link but somehow I managed to get it, but not through the Ministry. I was put pending for a whole 40 minutes,” recalls Ngore.

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