5 Kenya Power directors skip MPs’ grilling


Kenya Power board chair Vivienne Yeda. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Five directors of the scandal-hit Kenya Power board have snubbed a parliamentary meeting called to address procurement and management wars at the utility firm.

Only three directors led by board chairperson Vivienne Yeda showed up despite an earlier directive that the nine members attend in person.

This forced the National Assembly’s Energy committee to turn away Ms Yeda who was accompanied by Anthony Mugo, the Treasury Principal Secretary alternate to the Kenya Powefr board.

Board member Caroline Kittony attended the meeting virtually while Elizabeth Rogo is bereaved following the death of her mother Orie Rogo Manduli.

Acting Kenya Power chief executive Rosemary Oduor also attended the meeting.

Ms Yeda told the committee that the rest of the board members had indicated they will join the meeting virtually or physically.

“I am informed that the rest will either join me physically or the meeting virtually. I am not aware of their current status,” she said.

The committee refused to listen to the three directors and directed that they go back and return as full board without fail on Tuesday.

“I direct that you go back and ensure that all members must be present in person on Tuesday,” David Gikaria, who chairs the committee ruled.

The committee wants Ms Yeda to be accompanied by Abdularaq Ali, Caroline Kittony, Njoroge Muhu, Elizabeth Rogo, Kairo Thuo, Sachen Gudka, Isaac Kiva and Humphrey Muhu.

Yesterday’s aborted grilling comes weeks after the board pushed out the utility's chief executive officer Bernard Ngugi, before the end of his term, after a stormy board meeting in August.

It also follows summonses by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to the non-executive directors of Kenya Power to record statements over procurement fights that has rocked that utility company.

Kenya Power workers have also threatened to go on strike if four directors don't resign amid an investigation over tendering at the electricity utility.

The Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers Union (Ketawu) has warned of the strike in the push for the resignation of board chairman Ms Yeda and directors--Elizabeth Rogo, Caroline Kittony and Sachen Gudka.

The committee had invited the Kenya Power board of directors over a number of issues including the ouster of Mr Ngugi and alleged interreference with operations and decisions of the utility’s management.

The committee wanted to know if reports that the board has been micro managing the management team and directing cancellation of lucrative procurement deals are true.

Ms Yeda was forced to retract part of her statements to the committee after MPs protested what they termed as arrogance.

Ms Yeda ran into trouble after she told lawmakers that the Kenya Power board fully understands its responsibility.

“We don’t need to be lectured. We know our responsibility as a board to Kenyans,” Ms Yeda said before being forced to withdraw the statement.

The MPs accused Ms Yeda of high handedness and arrogance and threatened to table damming evidence about her social life and past work at a bank that has is facing problems currently.

“The problem of Kenya Power is the board which is not taking this committee seriously. We can table a report on the floor of the House to dissolve this board,” Fafi MP Abdikarim Osman said.

However, the MPs did not expound how they will disband the board given that Kenya Power is a publicly listed company whose directors can only be removed by its owners and shareholders.