Kenya Power suspends 59 ahead of tendering audit


Electricity House, Kenya Power head offices in Nairobi. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

Kenya Power has suspended 59 members of its procurement team to pave the way for a forensic audit amid tender fights at the company that saw its top executive resign in August.

In a statement issued on Thurday, the power utility firm said the suspension is in line with the recommendation of the presidential task force, which called for reforms on the company’s supply chain.

The forensic audit, to be conducted on the procurement systems, stocks and staff are aimed at sealing possible leakages.

In August, Kenya Power managing director Bernard Ngugi resigned over differences with the board, which is said to have taken an active role in running the firm, including querying procurement decisions and dropping management’s strategy to increase tariff rates that officials believed would lift Kenya Power out of the red.

“In compliance with the task force recommendations, Kenya Power has with immediate effect suspended the top leadership of the supply chain division comprising 59 members of staff to pave way for a forensic audit,” said the firm.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had in March formed a task force on the review of power purchasing agreements with the aim of addressing the cost of electricity in the country as well as streamlining and strengthening the sector.

In September, the John Ngumi-led team presented its report to Mr Kenyatta with a raft of recommendations that included reforms within Kenya Power and the energy sector, which is targeted at bringing down the cost of power by 33 percent.

In 2018 former Kenya Power chief executive Ken Tarus was charged with conspiring to commit an economic crime and abuse of office, along side his predecessor, Ben Chumo, and a number of other senior managers at the company.

Mr Tarus and his fellow executives at the company were accused of entering into a contract with a private firm for the supply of transformers, which turned out to be faulty.

The State-backed utility firm has been in the spotlight amid financial haemorrhage largely linked to procurement scandals.

For example, a preliminary audit report shows that Kenya Power held about Sh9.8 billion in deadstock — pointing to the electricity supplier’s messy procurement programmes.

The dead stock included items such as cables, meters, and transformers that have been sitting in the warehouses for more than five years.

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

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

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