Kenya Power procurement staff suspended last year resume work


Kenya Power vehicles. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Fifty nine Kenya Power procurement staff who were suspended last November to pave the way for a forensic audit amid tender fights at the company are back in office following the conclusion of investigations by the electricity distributor.

In a statement issued yesterday, the power utility said the senior procurement staff whose contacts were temporarily terminated for a period of nine months have resumed work, but the company did not offer details of the findings of the probe.

“They are back in office because the critical parts of the audit have been concluded,” said the firm.

“The audits were conducted on internal processes and to ensure a fair process, the 59 were asked to step aside. The reports are being compiled and will be submitted to the Auditor General for further guidance.”

Kenya Power last November suspended the employees on its supply chain and logistics department in reforms that targeted procurement malpractices that threatened the sustainability of the company while exposing Kenyans to high power bills.

The move followed recommendations by a task force appointed by former President Uhuru Kenyatta to probe contracts between the utility firm and electricity generators.

The problems in the procurement at the firm came to the fore in 2018 when nearly the entire top management was suspended and prosecuted for buying low-quality transformers and outsourcing construction works to non-qualified and unregistered firms.

A preliminary audit report showed that Kenya Power held about Sh9.8 billion in dead stock — pointing to the electricity supplier’s messy procurement programmes—which included items such as cables, meters, and transformers that have been sitting in the warehouses for more than five years.

Kenya Power said it had also opened investigations into online scammers draining the utility company of revenues through the sale of discounted pre-paid tokens.

Investigations had unveiled a ring of fraudsters colluding with internal staff using a web of unidentified mobile numbers, to target unsuspecting customers through social media platforms including WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook.

The probe at the procurement department started barely a few months after the then managing director Bernard Ngugi resigned over differences with the board.

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