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Former Coast Water Board CEO fails to secure contract extension

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[Former Coast Water Works Development Agency CEO Jacob Kimutai Torutt (L) during a past function at the Agency’s offices in Mombasa. Photo/Ahmed Omar].

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

Rights

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 petition dated and filed herein on 12/04/2021 is hereby dismissed with orders. Each party to bear own costs of the petition,” Justice Ongaya said in his ruling.

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.