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KEBS MD Njiraini, PS Kaberia Linked To Recruitment Malpractices At The Bureau

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An advertisement dated Thursday, August 26, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) indicated that the bureau was looking to hire 101 individuals to occupy various posts.

They included an inspection manager and a principal office administrator at the managerial level. Civil engineers, electrical engineers, pharmacists and mechanical engineers.

The process has however come back to haunt the management with MD Bernard Njiraini and Principal Secretary Amb. Kirimi Kaberia taking the big chunk of blame for playing dirty in the recruitment process.

According to an anonymous letter sent to Kenya Insights and copied to other bodies by aggrieved staff, the recruitment process was largely flawed by the management. The staff are petitioning for an open recruitment process. Below is the letter.

With the re-establishment of the East African Community (EAC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), KEBS activities now include participation in the development and implementation of SMCA activities at the regional level where it participates in the harmonization of standards, measurement of conformity assessment regimes for regional integration. KEBS operates the National Enquiry Point in support of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).

We are here to report recruitment malpractices at the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

KEBS advertised 109 positions in the month of September 2021. The deadline for submitting applications was 10.09.2021.

What happened is that the MD (Lt. Col (Rtd) Njiraini) took upon himself to invite the Ministry of Trade and Enterprise Development to be part of the shortlisting and interviewing process. This has never happened before because KEBS recruitments have always been transparent and very objective.

We are made to understand this was done because of the directives from the Principal Secretary Amb. Kirimi Kaberia who is set to run for a political seat therefore he wants to use the employments to reward his political supporters in his village in Meru). Not only have that, the MD himself Mr. Njiraini wants to employ his county political associates for himself and for his friends.

The Principal Secretary State Department of for Industrialization Amb. Kirimi Kaberia.

The MD flouted all the recruitment processes in KEBS overlooking the committee which is charged with the responsibility of all recruitment and instead appointed his spanner boys who do all his dirty jobs.

Below are the names for the so-called shortlisting committee

  1. Murira- this is a Director who was appointed irregularly as a reward to Meru community. This is the man who has set up the whole process. First, he is not a member of the committee and he was appointed to chair the panel. He is been tasked to ensure the interest of the PS. Ambassador Kaberia, Board chair and the larger Meru interests are taken care of at the expense of other applicants.
  2. Kirimi is the mastermind of all the rumours and gossip in KEBS. He is the one in charge of the recruitment system and has ensured he tampered with the system. He gets information from the system and calls people demanding for money in return of recruitment. He is boasting all over that people should know that there are Meru’s at KEBS.
  3. Abdow- this is one of the most corrupt officers in KEBS. The MD uses him to carry out his dirty jobs at KEBS. He got in irregularly and has caused a lot of chaos in HR department since he joined the organization.
  4. Njeru- this is the officer from the Ministry ensure that all Mt. Kenya applicants specifically Gatundu, Meru and Embu are given the jobs.
  5. Miriam- this a very new Director and does not understand the malpractices in KEBS especially recruitments- she is a coverup to cheat the rest of us that the process is fair.

The question is what is going to happen to the rest of Kenyans who have applied if this is what is happening?

We understand there are internal employees who could have benefited from the recruitment but the advert was advertised externally so that it is used for political gains.

According to Public Service Commission and KEBS HR policies, there is a committee charged with advising the MD in all recruitment process and the same has been completely ignored in this particular recruitment.

The MD (Mr. Njiraini has completely run down KEBS since he joined KEBS in 2019. In fact he has been arrested in the past due to corruption. He is still in office courtesy of his godfathers. This MD became MD although he was number six during the interviews)

We have written to your good office so that you can intervene by having the recruitment process stopped or cancelled until the MD appoints credible people to drive the process.

This process is highly compromised, the end result is to benefit Mr. Kaberia (PS), Mr. Njiraini (MD), KEBS Board chair, HOD-HR and his woria friends in KEBS and outside KEBS.

We are, once again, appealing to your good office to intervene by having this process stopped or cancelled altogether. As we are writing the same corrupt team is carrying out short listing.

Njiraini has been exposed on corruption in this site many times.

In October, 2020 last year – Kebs was stopped from expanding a vehicle inspections tender following queries around the process.

Parliament adopted a committee report that seeked to have Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) Managing Director Bernard Njiraini held responsible for litigation that could arise from a controversial tender.

In July 2020, EACC officers arrested Bernard Njiraini for frustrating graft investigations at the parastatal.

Njiraini was arrested for refusing to give EACC detectives original documents related to multimillion-shilling tenders the commission is investigating.

Njiraini was arrested as a penal consequence for failing to comply with a notice issued to him to surrender the documents.

EACC had been investigating allegations of procurement irregularities and payment of bribes in respect of awards for tenders for provision of pre-export conformity of goods, used motor vehicles, mobile equipment and spare parts by Kebs. 

The Public Investments Committee (PIC) recommended punishment for Mr Njiraini and the procurement team at Kebs for alleged impropriety in awarding a pre-export verification tender. The National Assembly adopted the report that recommended that the top officer at the state agency be surcharged in the event bidders challenged the award.

The watchdog committee chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir also recommended that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission probe the circumstances under which Kebs engaged blacklisted firms, EAA Company Ltd and Auto Terminal Japan.

The Auditor-General had in a special audit recommended that the two firms be barred from engaging in such tenders. But the agency went ahead to engage them in its bid to have more firms inspect vehicles being imported into the country.

In reference to the recruitment process, KEBS has issued a rebuttal to the claims raised by the staffers in the anonymous mail. While replying to the consumer body Cofek, Kebs management and by reflex, are denying any wrong doing in the recruitment.

They said in part “the shortlisting committee for this recruitment was duly appointed in line with its internal processes and the KEBS Human Resources Policy. The ministry of industrialization, trade and enterprise development is the parent ministry (the ministry) to KEBS and is therefore engaged and consulted by KEBS as and when necessary, In this case, the ministry is providing technical and professional human resources support during the recruitment process.”

Section 5 of the Standards Council Act which establishes KEBS only requires KEBS Council to consult with the ministry on the appointment of the director (CEO/MD) of KEBS, not the rest of the staff.

1) The Minister shall, on the advice of the Council, by notice in the Gazette, appoint a Director of the Bureau who shall be the chief executive officer of the Bureau.

(2) The Council shall, after consultation with the Director, appoint such members and staff of the Bureau as the Council may deem necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Bureau under this Act.

While replying to Keb’s rebuttal, the consumer body has further poked holes in the denying statement.

It is not clear why the ministry and or principal secretary, who sits on the Standards Council, will still have himself and or a nominee on shortlisting committees for internal and or externally advertised jobs. Cofek equally remains a stranger to the KEBS Human Resources Policy – where no specific section was quoted in the KEBS generic response – that was more of a veiled threat than the salient information sought.“

We’ve also learnt that Kebs threatened Cofek to pull down article they had posted earlier on the recruitment petition claiming it had dealt them an unstated disrepute. Suspiciously, they want article taken down without convincing evidence that it was malicious, this is a common threat from corrup leaders who want to hide information from the public and continue operating in secrecy.

Cofek has refused to give into their demands, “

KEBS is a key consumer protection agency. Its a primary partner to Cofek. Recruitment of its’ human resources is, therefore, a critical component of consumer protection. It cannot be gainsaid. Again, in light of Article 10 and especially 35 of the Constitution, information held by government and required in the public interest ought to be released to the public. It is the legitimate expectation that KEBS will provide the required full information.” The body stated.



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