The Kenya Pipeline Company has run into a leadership vacuum again after the term of acting managing director Hudson Andambi ended on January 2 with the court halting the appointment of his successor.
Mr Andambi, who was meant to retire at the end of December, previously had his term extended twice.
Sources at the State-owned agency confirmed that the managing director’s office had been vacant the whole of this week with various critical operations getting affected by the resultant vacuum.
On Thursday, Mr Andambi declined to take questions about his absence from office, directing the Business Daily to board chairman John Ngumi who was equally ambiguous.
“On the issue of the MD, we will issue a statement in due course, but rest assured there is no management vacuum,” Mr Ngumi wrote on Wednesday without elaborating.
Mr Andambi who was sourced from the Ministry of Mining and Petroleum after his predecessor Joe Sang was arrested on graft allegations had an extended stay after it became hard to find his replacement.
The board reportedly got only three qualified candidates when the position was first advertised even after more than 100 applicants expressed interest, forcing a second recruitment that settled on Dr Irungu Macharia, the managing director of Gulf Africa Petroleum Corporation (GAPCO) Kenya Ltd which was acquired by Total Group.
Mr Macharia is currently locked out due to an ongoing court battle after Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Hellen Wasilwa ruled that Mr Andambi should continue serving in an acting capacity pending the hearing and determination of a case filed by activist Okiya Omtatah disputing the process.
Mr Omtatah wants the court to compel the KPC board to produce the score sheets showing how each member of the interviewing panel ranked candidates.
His absence now complicates management at the Kenya Pipeline where more than 100 middle level managers were forced to take up acting roles after senior managers were arrested in two waves in late 2018 over the loss of public funds totalling more than Sh660 million.