KBC suspends MD David Waweru

Regulation & Policy

David Okwembah wrote in the Daily Nation on June 26th, 2010:
It seems the deal to air World Cup matches locally struck between the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and Radio Africa was an excuse to suspend David Waweru who had been dogged by a host of controversies since joining KBC. They include alleged financial impropriety, the sale of the corporation’s land as well as frequencies owned by the national broadcaster.

Corporation secretary H. Oira, who was suspended with Waweru, was involved in negotiating the World Cup deal.  Last week, the KBC board of directors decided to send the pair packing. According to the World Cup deal, KBC paid the world soccer governing body FIFA KS76 million for exclusive radio and TV rights for Kenya and subsequently sold some of them to Radio Africa for KS26 million. But problems started when KBC sold radio broadcasting rights to Royal Media, the owners of Citizen radio and television.

But it was not just Royal Media that was broadcasting the matches on radio. Milele FM was also broadcasting the same; KBC management argued that the exclusive deal was only for TV rights. But the Permanent Secretary for Information and Communications, Dr Bitange Ndemo, said the corporation may lose the KS76 million it had paid to secure the TV rights for the World Cup matches.

“Radio Africa wanted the KS26 million it had paid KBC, while Royal Media had only paid KS500,000,” the PS said, adding the KBC board was only aware of the deal with Radio Africa but not with any other stations. Dr Ndemo lamented that despite efforts to have the costs defrayed, the state corporation refused to budge. “We had promised Treasury money from this deal, and it looks like there will be nothing,” the PS said.

Waweru said there was nothing sinister about the World Cup contracts and asked those investigating the deal to take a good look at all of them. “If we are called upon, we’ll defend ourselves,” the suspended MD said.