East Africa Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) sacked the acting managing director Stephen Nthei while he was on his 40-day annual leave, Kahawa Tungu can reveal.
Nthei’s 40-day annual leave started on Monday, February 8, and the board announced his replacement two days after he proceeded to his leave.
This writer learns that Nthei was the casualty of a board disagreement over the sale 2,000 acres of prime but idle land in Mavoko, Machakos County, that belonged to the company.
The land worth over Ksh10 billion was to be sold in conjunction with the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), which was owed Ksh6.2 billion.
Nthei and a number of board members favoured the sale of the land, in a bid to try and save the company that is almost collapsing on the weight of debts and loss-making.
On the other hand, a section of directors are favouring a Chinese investor and a Somalia national to acquire the land for Ksh8 billion. This would see the company receive Ksh2 billion less of the actual value of the land.
Speaking to Business Daily, Nthei said that he would resume office immediately his leave was over, promising a battle to anybody that tried to throw him out. His contract is set to end in September 2022.
“I am waiting for my leave to end in 40 days and I will return to office. If someone tries to touch my contract there will be resistance because I have done nothing to warrant an ouster,” said Mr Nthei.
This comes a day after the board of EAPCC announced that Mr Daniel Kiprono had been appointed the new acting CEO, replacing Mr Nthei.
“The Board of Directors of the Company wishes to Inform the shareholders that Mr Daniel Kiprono has been appointed as the Acting Managing Director of the Company with effect from 8th February. 2021,” the company said.
Daniel Kiprono joined the Company in August 2000 and has served In various roles including as Financial Accountant, Internal Auditor, Procurement Manager, Senior Internal Auditor and currently Head of Internal Audit.
He previously worked at the National Irrigation Board where he rose to become the Chief Accountant.
The company is also set to lose another piece of land measuring 4,256 acres to the government for free, for failing to use it for agricultural use in line with the terms of an allocation deal inked in 1960.
In 2018, EAPCC sold 900 acres at Sh5.2 billion to Kenya Railway Corporation for construction of an inland port currently under way.
Portland is 52 percent owned by the government and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and LafargeHolcim (41.7 percent). Other shareholders at the Nairobi Securities Exchange have a six percent holding.