The High Court in Nakuru has temporarily stopped the appointment of Emile Arao as the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) director general.
Justice David Nderitu issued the temporary order pending the hearing of a suit filed by Sheria Mtaani challenging the appointment.
Nderitu directed that the order be served upon KCAA and Arao and further ordered that the matter be listed for an interparty hearing on March 31.
He also put on hold his gazettement until a determination is made by the court.
Arao was appointed by Transport CS James Macharia to replace his predecessor Capt. Gilbert Kibe.
“Arao is an accomplished aviation professional holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Aircraft engineering technology and a master’s degree in business administration in Aviation,“ stated Macharia.
However, Arao’s appointment raised eyebrows in the aviation industry following numerous allegations of Arao being a key participant in abuse of office and embezzlement of public money schemes.
Arao’s name was adversely mentioned in a report by the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) as a person who is possibly embezzling funds and poor management according to an assessment in his previous workstation.
He is accused of stealing Sh5.47 million which was paid irregularly as education allowance.
According to the findings, some of the children to whom the money had been paid for their birth certificates had not been registered in the payroll as per the recommendation of the governing regulations.
Regarding travel, an audit revealed that Sh59.9 million were used on conferences while Sh28.9 million were used on meetings.
This is despite the reduction of in-person travel and teleconferencing due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The shortlisted candidates were Lucus Njeri (pilot, Kenya Airways), Mugambi GK M’Ncherebere (director, KCAA’s East African School of Aviation), Abel Gogo (Kenya Airports Authority manager in charge of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport), Joseph Kiptoo Chebungei, (KCAA Director, Corporate Services) and Joseph Okumu (KAA manager in charge of Wilson Airport).
After the interviews, Arao, Chebungei and Mugambi’s names were forwarded by the Board of Directors to the minister for appointment as per the Civil Aviation Act.