A multi-million shillings scandal at the Kenya Power Company that was unearthed by the Director of Criminal Investigations is among the major graft cases of the year 2019.
A team from the Serious Crime Unit has been conducting investigations on the Kenya Power billing system since the beginning of the year and has so far uncovered a well-coordinated cartel that has been manipulating the system to steal from unsuspecting Kenyans.
The cartel include senior and junior Kenya Power staff, brokers and some customers, some of whom are now facing charges.
The investigations started in April this year, following public outcry of hiked bills with Kenyans taking to social media to share their exaggerated bills under the hashtag #SwitchOffKPLC
“Following several complaints lodged with DCI thorough audit of the billing systems in operation at KPLC was sanctioned by DCI,” DCI said.
The DCI involved teams from Kenya Power, cyber forensic experts and Criminal Intelligence Unit of the DCI Headquarters.
The investigators found out that the architecture of the fraud involved Kenya Power ICT employees granting unauthorized access and assigning special roles to outsiders.
The cartels would then inflate power bills or strike a deal with a client to reduce their bill for kickbacks.
According to the DCI, the main suspect is Edgar Ojienda, a non-staff from Kisii who worked for a contractor who worked for Kenya Power between 2014 to 2017.
Ojienda, who was given an admin rights, was able to manipulate an account belonging to a local company to the tune of Sh3.6 million at a cost of Sh1.2 million as kickback.
“The fraudster knew that Kenya Power did not have a validator to validate the uploaded transactions so that someone can actually confirm that the M-Pesa transactions were genuine,” DCI said.
A general audit by Kenya Power indicates that Sh 65 million was lost in the transactions done in 2018 alone.
On Pre-paid tokens, the investigators said they found out that rogue Kenya Power staff generated tokens for sale by altering genuine M-PESA reference numbers with additional digits leading to the loss of Sh 35 million in 2018.
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