Kenya Power declared a special government project

Ailing energy giant Kenya Power has been declared a special government project at an inter-ministerial team set up to audit and oversee urgent reforms in the company.

The inter-ministerial team consisting of Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and Kenya Power board and senior managers said reforms and implementation of the recommendations of the task force in the company are to be undertaken immediately.

Kenya Power has been directed to immediately suspend ongoing and pending negotiations with independent power producers.

The company was also ordered to prioritise a review of existing PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) in a bid to lower the cost of electricity procured by Kenya Power, and therefore, the unit cost of electricity billed to clients thereby lowering the cost of electricity.

A multi-agency team consisting of the DCI, Financial Reporting Center (FRC), Assets Recovery Authority and other investigative agencies is also to be assembled to investigate alarming system losses within the company, procurements practices, insider trading, conflict of interests and suspect transactions involving staff and others.

A meeting of all state agencies in the energy sector is to be convened urgently to synergize and align the country’s demand-vs-supply needs of the country and to work out modalities of bringing down energy costs.

Kenya Power has in the recent past found itself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, The Standard reported weeks ago.

The State-owned power distributor’s board of directors has had run-ins with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the National Assembly’s Energy Committee over claims of impropriety and usurping the management’s role.

EACC recently launched investigations into the board over alleged interference in the management’s work as well as the award of tenders. The investigation, coming hot on the heels of the unceremonious exit of immediate former chief executive Bernard Ngugi.

In a letter dated August 5, 2021, EACC Chief Executive Maj (Rtd) Twalib Mbarak wrote to the Kenya Power chairperson Vivienne Yeda and acting CEO Rosemary Oduor indicating the reason for the probe.

He said the removal of Ngugi was attributed to the conflict of interest.

“The commission is undertaking investigation on the reported complaints to inform further action against those found culpable,” stated the EACC boss.

The giant Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers’ Union (Ketawu) has also weighed in on the issue and wants the board disbanded over claims that it is interfering with how the management runs the company.

The board, which was put in place a year ago, had been billed as a dream team of sorts, considering that the directors are leaders in their respective industries and have steered major brands to success.

[Additional reporting, Macharia Kamau] 

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