Press Center | Freight Shipping Logistics News
RVR, the Kenya-Uganda Railways concessionaire currently being accused by the Kenya and Uganda governments for not meeting its contractual targets, replaced its managing director Roy Puffett with Kevin Whiteway, an Australian, and appointed Brown Ondego the executive chairman, a newly created position.
Announcing the changes, RVR Directors Steering Committee chairman Ngugi Kiuna could not hide the significance of the new management structure and subsequent appointment of Mr Ondego, who as Kenya Ports Authority MD, is credited for transforming the once moribund state parastatal to a profit making entity.
“The creation of an executive chairman slot and the subsequent appointment is geared at ensuring that we continue to enhance our management capacity to facilitate a speedy turnaround of the Kenya-Uganda Railways,” Mr Kiuna said.
In his new capacity, Mr Ondego will also take up the role of the principal spokesperson of the company in all undertakings and external communications.
Mr Kiuna admitted that the company, which Kenya’s Transport minister Ali Mwakwere recently said has a month to deliver or have its contract terminated, is undergoing serious financial problems.
He said the first step to rescue the situation, change of management was necessary.
He said: “All the existing shareholders have agreed to inject more money into the investment and we will also be inviting more investors. We are confident that the new management will facilitate the speedy turnaround of the business towards improved performance and service delivery to RVR customers.”
Once the firm raises the funds through various forms including a rights issue, they will enhance the railway line and procure new locomotives as well as the repair of existing ones.
Mr Kiuna said despite the move will not affect the shareholding of the company.
“All the 35 per cent shareholding of RVR is not changing. What the committee is doing is looking for strategic partners to inject capital into the business,” Mr Kiuna said.
The chairman said the immediate task will be to tackle issues of concession compliance, raise RVR’S public image and possible funding options.
Prior to his appointment and following his retirement at KPA, Mr Ondego has been serving as the group MD, MJ Group- a company dealing in cargo handling in sea ports.
Amongst the group’s subsidiaries include Grain Bulk Handling, Mbaraki Bulk Terminal Ltd and African Gas Company Ltd.
Mr Puffett downplayed his departure, attributing it to a reshuffle of top management by the parent company, Sheltam of South Africa.
“I would have wanted to stay here for even four or five years but the decision has already been made,” he said.
RVR, the holder of the 25-year concession to operate the lines in Kenya and part of Uganda, is a consortium led by Sheltam of South Africa, with partners Babcock and Brown of Australia, the TransCentury Group, and Centum.
However, the Kenya Railways is the manager of the concession and non-conceded assets. It is mandated to plan and develop the metropolitan rail network and that of the inland waterways and Railways Training Institute.
PARASTATAL heads who signed the Mombasa port community charter risk being sacked if their agencies do not deliver on the contents of the new entity. The charter signed between the government and the private sector aims at improving the movement of cargo from the port into hinterland