National Biosecurity Authority Director General Roy Mugiira Suspended Over Alleged Misuse of Funds

The Director General of the National Biosecurity Authority (NBA), Roy Mugiira, has been suspended from his duties over alleged misappropriation of funds and interference in the board of the authority.

The disciplinary proceedings against Dr Mugiira began on 6 June 2024, when the board requested an explanation for several cases of financial irregularities at the office.

In a statement to the editors, it was said that Dr Mugiira allegedly interfered in the investigation into allegations of misappropriation of funds by the board.

He is accused of being under investigation for his conduct at the same time as he was pushing for the removal of two board members.

“The Board has noted that you have actively interfered and continue to interfere with the composition of the Board in order to thwart the disciplinary proceedings against you… and have caused the removal of Directors Dr Roselida Owuor and Mr Abduba Dabassa, who were actively involved in your case, and their replacement as Board members,” the statement read.

According to Prof. Jenesio Kinyamario, NBA Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr. Mugiira’s actions were in violation of NBA Code of Conduct and Ethics Rules 10.8.1 and 10.8.2(c) and 10.10 regarding integrity and conflict of interest.

“The Board considers that the above actions constitute serious misconduct for which severe disciplinary action is warranted, which goes beyond the ongoing disciplinary process,” the letter addressed to Dr Mugiira reads

Dr Mugiira will be absent from the office for the next three months to complete the disciplinary process, but will be called upon to answer questions relating to the audit for the previous financial year.

Confirming his suspension, Dr Mugiira told the Nation on Wednesday that he could not comment further on the matter as it was being dealt with administratively.

The suspended director general was appointed in February 2022, while the authorities were still frozen in a 10-year ban on the sale, import and cultivation of genetically modified crops and food in the country.

That same year, an executive order by President William Ruto lifted the ban on GMOs in the country, and the NBA began popularising and expanding research on GMO crops and foods such as maize and cassava.

BT cotton is the only commercial crop in the country.

However, a pending Court of Appeal case over the country’s ability to deal with genetically modified crops and food is holding up some of the office’s activities.

Following the end of Dr Mugiira’s suspension, Mr Nehemiah Ngetich will assume his duties as Director of Biosafety Research and Regulatory Compliance.

Mr. Ngetich joined the NBA in 2012 as a Biosecurity Officer. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Plant Ecology at the University of Nairobi.