The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) Board Chair Mwambu Mabonga has been left with an egg on his face after the Authority’s CEO he had suspended was reinstated by Treasury.
According to insiders at IRA, he single handedly made a decision to suspend the CEO Godfery Kiptum in order to bring in “his man”.
Insiders said the purported board meeting that took place involved board members whose tenure had been suspended by the CS National Treasury Pro Njuguna Ndungu, hence the meeting was an illegality and he did not follow the law.
On Monday, Treasury having known the facts of the said board meeting, has reversed the decision Mwambu had communicated to the public.
According to the purported Board, Kiptum was suspended to pave way for investigation into unspecified “legal and any matters of concern”.
IRA board chairman Mwamba Mabonga had on Friday said a special meeting resolved to send Mr Kiptum on leave and replace him on an interim basis with Monica Thirima who is a senior manager at the State agency in charge of consumer protection.
Treasury Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo however overruled the decision and said Mr Kiptum would remain in office pending consultation on the board’s decision.
In his communication to staff on Friday Mr Mabonga had said all officers with pending leave days at IRA would also proceed on leave alongside the CEO, but reliably the existing system in IRA is set to automatically reduce excess leave days per every staff to 45 days.
This means that any staff with days exceeding 45 automatically losses the excess days.
This raises queries why the board chair reported that the CEO had 200 leave days instead of the automatic cut off 45 days.
Coincidentally, the special meeting that resolved to send Mr Kiptum on leave came as National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u formally appointed Yasin Haji Hussein, Ambrose Makanga Ngari, Joel K. Chemiron, and Immaculate Shamalla as members of the IRA through a gazette notice yesterday.
To accommodate the new team, the CS revoked the appointments of Annette Kithi, Muchiri Mithamo, Njenga Mwangi, and Fauzia Arale.
Activists under the umbrella of Concerned Citizens have petitioned the National Treasury CEO, PS Treasury and head of Public Service to remove Mr Mwambu Mabonga from office.
They said Mwambu Mabonga is a former Prison officer who is specialized in counseling and Theology.
“In compliance with section 3: B (a), the recommended person for the position of the chairmanship does not have knowledge or experience in matters relating to Insurance, finance, banking or actuarial science as per the required regulations on section 3:b (2) of the insurance act cap 487,” Christopher Wahome from the lobby group said.
The insurance industry is a delicate financial market that requires a technocrat in its leadership, over the last financial year, the insurance market has been on a positive rebound and has attracted the international players with acquisitions, mergers and outright buyout’s which is attributed to good leadership of Mr Kiptum.
This market needs a technocrat and a visionary leader.
It has reliably been learnt that the conflict arises after Mr Mwambu Mambonga operations as the executive chairman of IRA in clear conflict of advisory by Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service circular dated 3rd April 2023.
The Board chair is in office everyday supervising operations of IRA alongside the CEO and Commissioner of Insurance.
He is also involved in day to day operations and meeting of external stakeholders alongside IRA management. This is not only against the law, but an infringement to the Public Finance Management Act of 2015, as board allowances must be within prescribed limits of the act.