According to Trade Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano, who made the announcement, her tenure will last for a period of three years, effective from October 13, 2023.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 5 (1) of the Standards Act, the Cabinet Secretary for Investments, Trade and Industry hereby appoints Esther Njeri Ngari as the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Bureau of Standards for a period of three (3) years with effect from October 13, 2023,” the Gazette notice read.
Ngari‘s journey to the CEO position at KEBS has been eventful. Last year, she was appointed to take over in a 6-month acting capacity after Njiraini’s term came to an abrupt end following a court ruling that dismissed his previous appointment as being irregular.
Come this year, she assumed the interim role after the removal of the former CEO, Bernard Njiraini, who was among 27 officials affected by management changes.
Njiraini’s departure was linked to the controversial release of condemned sugar, which resulted in a major scandal.
The organization faced public scrutiny and criticism following the unearthing of a controversy involving the disappearance of 20,000 bags of contaminated sugar.
This sugar, imported to Kenya in 2018, lacked expiry date specifications and was deemed unfit for human consumption by KEBS.
Initially, KEBS directed the disposal of this consignment, either through burning or burying, at the owner’s cost.
However, a decision was later made to convert it for industrial ethanol use under the joint supervision of KEBS and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) within a multi-agency framework.
Subsequently, the National Standards Council (NSC) initiated the process of selecting a new CEO. The applications were open until August 8, 2023, and the vetting process included rigorous assessments of the candidates’ qualifications and capabilities.
The extract of minutes from the NSC’s special meeting revealed that Esther Ngari came second in the running for the CEO position.
She scored an impressive 77.22, just narrowly trailing behind Moses Sudi Otoa, who topped the list with 78.78 points. Geoffrey Muriira, the suspended Director of Quality Assurance and Inspection, secured the third position with a score of 68.33.
Prior to her CEO appointment, Esther Ngari served as the Director of Standards Development and Trade at KEBS. Her experience in quality assurance, research, and development at the Kenya Meat Commission underscores her commitment to upholding standards in various sectors.
She becomes the second female to head the standards assurance agency following in the footsteps of Eva Oduor who held the post back in 2012.
“I firmly believe that an organization’s success lies in the hands of its people, and I have the utmost confidence in the capabilities, potential, & spirit of KEBS team,” Ngari remarked on her appointment.
“Together, we have the power to transform this institution into a beacon of excellence.”