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Economy

A year of storm at the helm of energy agencies

Former Kenya Pipeline Company MD Joe Sang
Former Kenya Pipeline Company MD Joe Sang when he was questioned at Parliament about the JKIA hydrant pit valves. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The energy and petroleum sector has had a rough year in 2019 characterised by leadership upheavals that have seen changes at the helm.

For the better part of the year, Kenya Pipeline and Kenya Power both survived without substantive heads.

National Oil is closing the year with an acting chief executive after months of leadership turmoil and appointments at both Kenya Power and KPC have been challenged in court.

Kenya Power’s former Acting CEO Jared Othieno was picked to steer the firm after the previous management team was charged with fraudulent procurement.

The senior managers, including former CEO Ken Tarus, were charged in connection with the supply of faulty transformers that have allegedly seen the utility firm incur a loss of some Sh408 million.

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The fate of Mr Othieno who headed the firm for more than a year in acting position remains unknown after the board remained silent.

His replacement Bernard Ngugi is also facing a court battle filed by a citizen questioning how he was cleared by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission despite the active graft charges in court, which, the litigant says, directly relate to his former docket.

At Kenya Pipeline, more than 100 middle level managers were forced to take up acting roles after senior managers were arrested in two waves late last year over the loss of public funds totalling more than Sh660 million.

The loss is said to have happened in the October 2014 procurement of 58 hydrant pit valves to replace the faulty ones at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

The managers including former MD Joe Sang left several offices unoccupied.

“Almost all managers are acting, there is no substantive general manager,” a senior manager in acting position said.

The dramatic changes at KPC cannot, however, compare with the turmoil at the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock), another State-owned energy agency.

In late October, Nock MD MaryJane Mwangi resigned in what saw the firm have three managing directors in a span of one week.

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