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Faulty transformers electrocute top Kenya Power managers

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The rot at Kenya Power finally has caught up with the management after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji ordered for the arrest of officials of the firm over corruption allegations.

In one swoop, the DPP ordered for the arrest of current and former senior managers over procurement of defective transformers and the irregularities in prequalifying 525 companies for labour and transport contracts. Through the two contracts – for transformers and labour and transport – Kenyans lost Sh470 million besides the inconvenience the defective transformers have caused.

By Saturday, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations announced that they had arrested former managing director, Dr Ben Chumo, Corporate Affairs and Company Secretary Beatrice Meso and General Manager Regional Co-ordination Peter Mwichigi. Mr John Ombui, the former General Manager, Supply Chain, was also arrested as well as Peter Mungai Kinuthia, the General Manager, Business Strategy.

The manhunt was still on for the current MD Ken Tarus, general managers Joshua Mutua, Samuel Ndirangu, Abubakar Swaleh, Stanely Mutwiri and Benson Muriithi.

Along with Dr Chumo and three directors of Muwa Trading Company Limited, which supplied the defective transformers, they will be charged with three offences of conspiracy to defraud contrary to Section 317 of the Penal Code, conspiracy to commit an offence of economic crime contrary to Section 47 A(3) as read with Section 48 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003 and fraudulent acquisition of public property contrary to Section 45(1)(a) as read with Section 48 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003.

Kenya Power had already paid Sh310 million for the defective transformers despite the power company having terminated the contract.

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On the scandal of the prequalification of firms to provide labour and transport services, the DPP has listed Mr Tarus, acting general manager finance Harun Karisa, acting general manager supply chain Daniel Ochieng Omuga, general manager Daniel Tare, chief accountant James Muriuki, managers Noah Ogano Omondi and John Mwaura Njehia, and two tender committee members Bernard Githui Muturi and Evelyne Pauline Amondi.

Along with the staff, the DPP has listed 33 directors and companies to be charged for the loss of Sh160 million that had already been paid for labour and transport contracts.

“Whereas it is regrettable the decision to charge herein will affect most of the KPLC top management, this action is necessary and in public interest to combat and deter corrupt activities within the organisation,” Mr Haji said.

For Dr Chumo, his arrest and expected arraignment in court on Monday will be double tragedy as he could also miss out on a job as chairman of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), which he was recently nominated to. As at the time of Dr Chumo’s arrest, the only obstacle that was standing between him and taking over at SRC, was vetting by Parliament which had been scheduled for July 23.

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However, sources at the DPP say that the list released Saturday of people to be charged is still not exhaustive as the second phase is coming with investigations almost done.

The second phase which could be related to the inflated billing and the scandal of token vendors is likely to see senior government officials among them a principal secretary, senior Kenya Power and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and directors of the vending companies dragged to court.

A class-action suit over billing is currently in court having been brought by lawyer Apollo Mboya who has also been leading the online campaign #SwitchOffKPLC. (Daily Nation)

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