Geothermal agency opens search for new chiefs after shake-up

A geothermal well in Nakuru. PHOTO | FILE
A geothermal well in Nakuru. PHOTO | FILE 

The Geothermal Development Company (GDC) has opened the search for seven senior managers to replace executives kicked out last November mainly over tendering irregularities.

The State-owned firm Wednesday advertised all the positions of general managers – despite having sent home five top managers – signalling a major shake-up at the graft-tainted geothermal producer.

Those purged and arraigned over breach of procurement laws included then acting chief executive Godwin Mwawongo, company secretary Praxidis Namoni Saisi, Peter Ayodo Omenda (research and development), Michael Maingi Mbevi (drilling), Abraham Kipchirchir Saat, Nicholas Karume Weke, and Caleb Indiatsi Mbayi.

Also charged alongside the managers was Bruno Mugambi Linyiru, the Inspector-General in charge of State corporations, who doubled as a member of the firm’s tender committee.

“GDC’s board of directors is seeking to recruit experienced, result oriented individuals with excellent leadership and technical skills,” the parastatal said in a notice.

Those eying the positions need to have an undergraduate degree in the relevant field, hold appropriate professional qualifications such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), be members of a professional body and backed by at least 12-year experience with five years in a senior position.

The GDC has reorganised and renamed the seven general manager offices advertised. These positions are currently held in an acting capacity by Godfrey Shitsama (finance), John Lagat (geothermal resource development), and Irene Onyambu (human resource and administration).

Others in interim capacity are Paul Ngugi (strategy, research and innovation), Cornel Ofwona (drilling and infrastructure), and Christopher Leparan (corporate services).

The tender committee members are accused of inflating prices and irregularly procuring Bonfide Clearing and Forwarding Ltd to provide rig moving services.

Court papers show the GDC awarded the firm a contract to move geothermal rigs and other equipment in 40 lots, with each costing Sh42.7 million – more than double the prevailing market prices.

KenGen is said to have hired the same firm for similar services and paid between Sh13.5 million and Sh24.4 million, according to documents filed in court.

This procurement saga forced GDC’s founding chief executive Silas Simiyu to resign in March 2015.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was sucked into the GDC debacle and mid this year appointed lawyer Gershom Otachi Bw’Omanwa as chairman and 2013 Narok governor candidate Johnson ole Nchoe as CEO.