ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru is on the spot for renewing the term of Postmaster General Dan Kagwe despite his underwhelming first term that brought the one-time commercial giant to its knees.
On Monday night, Mucheru in a special gazette notice announced the extension of Kagwe’s mandate overruling the board of directors which had submitted three names for consideration after being less than enthused by what Kagwe has to offer.
Kagwe is very unpopular with stakeholders more so with the company’s staff who accuse him of presiding over regular salary delays that have negatively impacted their credit scores with lenders.
“Kagwe has mismanaged this corporation, we are therefore calling on the ICT Cabinet Secretary to revoke his appointment,” said Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Deputy Secretary-General Ben Okwaro while addressing the disgruntled staff at City Square Post Office where the employees were calling for the revocation of Kagwe’s appointment.
The employees protested that delayed salaries have become a norm subjecting them to unnecessary borrowing that most at times ends up costing them more than they would prefer.
Kagwe has in the past pleaded his innocence saying that the company was in a downhill slope as it was plundered way before he assumed the corner office.
He even justified his position at the company stating that he had grown the company’s revenue from Ksh40 million to Ksh250 million a year.
At the City Square Post Office, hundreds of parcels and packages lined up for various destinations filled the decks at the holding area as the organisation was yet to pay for freight services, especially for air cargo.
Conversely, an internal audit shows that Posta is losing millions through irregular sales and leasing of its assets more often than not at prices way below their market value.
Documents show that more than 40 assets have been rented out to individuals with some being rented at Sh1 per square foot, a far cry from the current market rates of Ksh60 to Ksh80.
In some instances, some of the property has been handed over to friends, cronies, and relatives who do not pay anything to Posta.
So much is the plunder at the corporation that stakeholders had in a letter to the Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission (EACC) asked the anti-graft body to investigate Kagwe regarding a property leasing scandal regarding a prime property opposite Yaya Centre in Nairobi.
According to the People Daily, the property opposite Yaya Centre in Kilimani, Nairobi has been leased to a former Postmaster General at Ksh250,000 way below what it is worth in the current market.
Other properties under the microscope are in Nairobi West, Tom Mboya Street, Rumuruti, Kisumu, Mombasa, Karatina, Isiolo, Garissa, Eldoret, Timau, Narumoru, Naivasha and Maragoli.
Posta has in the past years found itself courting the attention of the Office of the Auditor-General which has questioned misappropriation of funds at the corporation most notably in 2018 when Ksh29 million was stolen by employees.
“Included in the cash and bank balance of Ksh323,974,413 is an amount of Ksh32,404,410 classified as an in cash transit. A further perusal of the corporation’s documents reveal that the amount includes Sh29,196,498 which was lost in different regions on diverse dates by staff members,” read the audit report.
The Office of the Auditor General also pointed out Ksh12 million was lost in the Yaya branch via manufactured pay-in slips.
What’s more, the Auditor General also warned that most of the buildings owned by Posta are not registered with the Lands Office leaving them prone to grabbing.
The corporation’s management has also intentionally refused to appoint a leasing committee making it peculiar that the Kagwe led management leased properties with reckless abandon anyway.
PD also reports that the corporation under Kagwe’s tenure has accumulated pending bills amounting to Ksh3.7 billion up from Ksh843 million when he took over the company.
Before taking up his role as Postmaster, the Auditor General had questioned the appointment of Kagwe saying it was done irregularly.
“His appointment was not competitive making it irregular and this is after strategically acting for almost two years and officially took office in March 2017,” reads the audit report.