Kenya Power managers free on bail after five nights in police cells

Kenneth Tarus Ben Chumo
Kenya Power MD Kenneth Tarus (left) and former managing director Ben Chumo at the Milimani Law Court on July 17, 2018. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG 

Senior Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC managers including former Managing Director Ben Chumo and his successor Ken Tarus on Wednesday secured their freedom after depositing Sh1 million in court as directed.

The suspects spent five nights in police cells.

Through lawyer Timon Kosgey, Dr Chumo and Dr Tarus paid the amount and executed a bond of Sh3 million to secure their release. Other senior managers including suspended company secretary Beatrice Meso also secured their release.

Some 19 people, mostly senior managers of the power utility, were charged with abuse of office, conspiracy to commit an economic crime and failure to comply with procedures and guidelines relating to procurement.

Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti had ordered them to pay the cash bail and sign the bond terms to secure their release. The Magistrate ruled that there was no compelling reason to deny them bail.

Other suspects are Mr Peter Mungai, Mr Joshua Mutua, general manager commercial services, Mr Abubakar Swaleh, general manager resource and administration, Mr Samuel Ndiirangu, the general manager ICT, Mr Stanley Mutwiri, general manager Infrastructure development, Mr Benson Muriithi, general manager network management, Mr Peter Mwicigi, general manager regional co-ordination and Mr John Ombui, the head of supply chain.

The court heard that they led to losses amounting to Sh408 million at KPLC by procuring sub-standard transformers. The charges stated that they conspired to commit an economic crime on diverse dates between August 3, 2013 and June 12, 2018 when they procured transformers worth approximately Sh408,533,221 from a company known as M/s Muwa Trading. In the second case, Dr Tarus and eight other senior managers of KPLC denied charges of fraudulently granting transport tenders to unqualified companies occasioning the loss of more than Sh159 million to the company.

Others were Mr Harun Karisa, engineer Daniel Tare, Mr Noah Ogano Omondi, Daniel Ochieng Muga, John Mwaura Njehia, Mr James Muriuki, Mr Bernard Githui Muturi, Ms Everlyne Pauline Omondi.

It is alleged that on diverse dates between April 12, 2017 and June 12, 2018, they failed to comply with procedures and guidelines on procurement and led to led fraudulent payment of Sh159 million to companies that were prequalified un-procedurally for labour and transport services.

The pretrial will be held on August 6.