Coast water boss loses bid to have his contract extended

A High Court in Mombasa on Friday dismissed a petition filed by former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Coast Water Works Development Agency to have his contract extended.

Justice Byram Ongaya dismissed the petition filed by Jacob Kimutai Torutt on April 12, 2021, to compel the water agency to extend his contract which had expired.

The Agency had last year May extended Mr Torutt contract by one year after serving initial three years but the former CEO wanted an extension of three years in line with Mwongozo, the Code of Governance for State Corporation issued jointly by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the State Corporation Advisory Committee (SCAC) in January 2015.

The Code provides “The Chief Executive Officer shall hold office for a three-year term or as otherwise provided under any other written law renewable once subject to performance evaluated by the board.”

In his petition, Torutt stated that that the Water Agency was a state corporation and in absence of any other law section 17 (5) of the Water Act, 2016 was the provision on his re-appointment which states “The Chief Executive Officer shall hold office for a term of five years and is eligible for re-appointment for one further term upon exemplary performance.”

However, the court found that in the absence of an established otherwise statutory provision that the renewal must have been for three years, the renewal in issue was governed by the terms and conditions of the contract.

“The court has already found that the provisions in Mwongozo do not state that the renewal must be for a further tenure of three years,” said Justice Ongaya.

The Water Agency denied that the rights of the former CEO were violated saying he voluntarily signed the contract for renewal of his service for one year.

The newly appointed Chairman of the Water Agency Omar Boga welcomed the ruling saying this will now give the board and management time to improve water provision for the residents of the region.

  

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