Kenya Power did not seek legal assistance from the State Law Office before entering into long-term multi-billion shilling power purchase deals that are now blamed for the high cost of electricity, the Attorney-General (AG) Justin Muturi has said.
Mr Muturi told the National Assembly’s Energy committee that the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) entered into power purchase agreements (PPAs) with independent power producers (IPPs) without the input of the office.
“The agreements (PPAs) were never presented to the Attorney-General for input and advice. Kenya Power directly negotiated and signed contracts with the IPPs without the knowledge of the State Law Office,” Mr Muturi said.
“These agreements that are said to be incapable of being abrogated were not negotiated with the assistance of the AG. KPLC signed them directly with power producers.”
Mr Muturi said the Attorney General’s office was neither in possession of any of the PPAs nor had seen a copy of what was signed between Kenya Power and the respective IPPs.
He said the law requires all government entities, including State corporations entering into contracts to seek legal clearance from the State.
The AG appeared before the committee chaired by Mwala MP Vincent Musyoka to assist the MPs to firm up its recommendations on the review of PPAs. The committee, which is inquiring into the high cost of electricity, wanted Mr Muturi to highlight the legal implications of terminating some of the agreements and the options available to the government.
The MPs also wanted Mr Muturi to shed light on exploring the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) principle in establishing the beneficial owners of the power companies registered outside Kenya.
Mr Muturi said the AG is not in a position to render a legal opinion since a multi-agency committee comprising representatives of the Ministry of Energy and Kenya Power tasked with renegotiating the PPAs has not completed its work.
He said the multi-agency team has been meeting since August intermittently and demanded that the committee demand weekly reports from the team to monitor progress.
“I have been informed that the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and Kenya Power constituted a multi-agency technical team to review the PPAs and develop strategies for renegotiation with IPPs. But I am told they are meeting intermittently,” Mr Muturi said.
He demanded that Kenya Power produce all PPAs for interrogation by the committee and the AG to end the blanket claims that termination of the agreement will be costly to the government.