Kenya Embassy in Geneva earns bad reputation
Landlords in Geneva have refused to lease their property to the staff of Kenya’s mission in the Swiss city for failure to pay rent on time. Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Tom Mboya, has allegedly not honoured a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalling him to Nairobi.
Instead, he has written back to request that the recall be suspended until after the elections in March. A parliamentary committee reported late last year that the rent issue has affected operations at the mission.
The MPs called for Mboya’s immediate removal for gross misconduct and misuse of public funds. The report by the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee says a number of officers seconded to the mission have had to stay in expensive serviced apartments for months as property owners have been refusing to rent apartments to the mission.
“The mission’s inability to pay rents on time has undermined its rating among estate agents in Geneva,” the report says. According to the report, some landlords have been threatening some junior officers with eviction after Mboya failed to respond to their requests for payment.
Efforts to get a comment from Mboya yesterday were futile as his phones went unanswered and he did not respond to text messages sent to him.
The report, which was tabled in January before Parliament dissolved on 14th, accuses Mboya of running down the key mission leading to a loss of Sh33.7 million used to rent a residence that was unused for 18 months.
“It appears that the only viable solution at the missions is for the government to consider redeployment of the current head of mission to a less demanding and sensitive station as a matter of urgency,” the report says.
The report accuses Mboya of high handedness, incompetence, arrogance and neglecting his duties by cancelling meetings with international agencies and as a result costing the country in terms of bilateral relations.
“The permanent representative to World Trade Organisation lacks interpersonal skills. He is managing the mission as his personal property, making unilateral decisions on matters concerning financial management in total disregard to the laid down regulations governing procurement,” the report says.
According to the report, the mission’s main account lacks an alternate signatory, which has led to the delay in payment of staff salaries and bills, causing a diplomatic embarrassment to the country.
Mboya withdrew that alternate signatories alleging that his deputy was allowing procurement of goods and services without ascertaining availability of funds, the report says.
“This explanation, the team found to be unacceptable as there are mechanisms to control this area which may include disciplinary action against the concerned office,” the report says.
According to the report, the lack of an alternate signatory has led to non-payment of the mission’s bills whenever Mboya is unavailable. It says that Mboya has total disregard of the laid down regulations governing procurement as well as financial management.
It also states that the mission has outstanding debts that affect its credit rating among its suppliers and creditors. The mission lacks a fuel management system and drivers are required to fuel vehicles and seek refunds later, the report says.
“Due to its poor credit rating, the mission is not able to enter into an agreement with petroleum companies to fuel its vehicles. The government should immediately direct the Efficiency Monitoring Unit to carry out investigations on any financial mismanagement and abuse of office by the ambassador and any other officer(s) in the Geneva mission,” the report says.
Mboya has run down operations at the mission to the extent that none of the other officers can effectively conduct their work, the report says.
“Other accusations are locking up the official seal so that other officers have no access and therefore none can issue note verbales, an important commercial tool between missions or international organisations,” the report says.
According to the report, Mboya has on several occasions cancelled key meetings and this has led to the risk of Kenya losing its current role as coordinator of the African Group at the World Trade Organisation.
“The permanent representative has cancelled some key meetings he had previously called or failed to attend without notice, leading to embarrassment and erosion of Kenya’s standing in the eyes of other nations. Our reputation is now at its lowest ebb,” the report says.
The report adds that Mboya has thus demonstrated his lack of zeal and commitment for his work as well as negligence of his duty. It also says that the management of the mission is poor taking into consideration the haphazard manner in which duties are allocated and finances are mismanaged among other issues.
The report says Mboya has a serious problem with his ego and lacks interpersonal skills. His staff accuse him of not being a team player and humiliating the staff through unsavoury remarks.
The report says Mboya rarely seeks their advice or input even in areas where their expertise is mandatory. The report accuses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of failing to act on a report by a team sent to inspect the mission.
It recommends that these officers should be reprimanded. “They should not only be held responsible but also accountable for the funds lost,” the report says.