Ezra Chiloba, the director general at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has been suspended over alleged abuse of office practices, less than two years after taking over the position.
The suspension was communicated via an internal memo by CA board chair Mary Mungai on Monday September 18, 2023, following a board meeting.
In Chiloba’s absence, Christopher Wambua, the ICT industry regulator’s director of Corporate Communications has been appointed as Acting Director General (DG).
(TOP: Ezra Chiloba).
“Following a meeting of the Authority’s Board held on 18th September 2023, resulting in the suspension of the Director General, I am pleased to inform all staff of the appointment of Mr Christopher Wambua as a Director General in Acting Capacity effective today until further notice. I trust that you will accord him the necessary support,” board chair Mungai stated in the memo.
Chiloba, the former IEBC CEO, took over the role of Director General of the CA in October 2021, replacing the authority’s former boss Francis Wangusi who’s contract expired in 2019. He’s to serve for a 4-year renewable term. His predecessor, Mr Wangusi, passed on in early March this year in Nairobi.
According to media reports, Chiloba has been suspended over alleged abuse of the CA’s mortgage scheme, with a report of the ninth special Board Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (Barac) meeting held on August 8, 2023, stating that the suspended DG alongside nine other CA staff “fundamentally breached their obligations arising under the contract of service”.
Among the alleged abuses is that Chiloba applied for and then self-approved a mortgage loan without exercising due process. The loan was to reportedly facilitate the purchase of a property between Chiloba and another individual. Regarding the loan application process, the CA board claims that no due diligence was exercised leading to the omission of relevant information.
“The loan application was approved by a junior staff member and there is no evidence to support the fact that the junior staff member carried out requisite due diligence and advice management including but not limited to the relationship between the seller and the buyer and the size of the property,” states the report.
He is also accused of purchasing a house and acquiring a 7-acre piece of land, which is beyond the allowed 1-acre limit under the Civil Servants Housing Scheme requirement.
In addition, questions were raised after it was noted that CA remitted money to a bank account held by Chiloba under the company name ‘Kitale Hilmost Ltd’, which also posed as the buyer in the transaction.
“Further interrogation to confirm the identity of the seller vide a query through the Companies Registry revealed the sole director and shareholder of Kitale Hilmost Ltd as Ezra Chiloba Simiyu, who is also the buyer. These actions amount to an offence in accordance with Section 41 and 42 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act,” it read.
Chiloba is also accused of misconduct while in office.
“Being that the Director General is the Accounting Officer for the Authority, the conduct and integrity of the office holder when viewed against the provisions of Sections 11, 12 and 13 of the Leadership and Integrity Act is found to be in contravention of the same and in breach of the Code of Ethics which amounts to misconduct for which he may be subjected to disciplinary proceedings as per Section 45 of the Employment Act 2007,” states the Barac meeting report.