The past few months have been turbulent for Joe Sang in the corner office of the State-run Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC).
From dealing with an embarrassing gaffe where tanker trucks were mistakenly loaded with water instead of petrol at the KPC depot in Kisumu to claims of mysterious loss of petroleum products within the company’s pipeline system, things have not been rosy for the soft-spoken economist.
And this week, Mr Sang seems to have had enough of heat and squall when he opted to exit KPC athough his tenure ends in April 2019, some four months away from now. He quits amid investigations into the disappearance of 21 million litres of fuel valued at about Sh2 billion.
Just as his departure, his rise to the helm at KPC in April 2016 was equally noisy, with lobby groups such as the Consumer Federation of Kenya(Cofek) questioning his suitability for the job.
Mr Sang braved the criticism and got down to work hoping all would be well. He was wrong.
Barely a year into his appointment, Sang’ faced his first major storm at KPC when he found himself at pains to defend the lucrative Sh1.2 Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (Scada) tender to Siemens.
More was to follow as investors sought to probe scores of tender deals at KPC including a Sh48 billion contract for the construction of a new pipeline from Mombasa to Nairobi as well as those for building of the Sh2.1 billion Sinendet–Kisumu pipeline, and the Sh1.7 billion Kisumu oil jetty.
Investigators are also still probing KPC board’s expenses, including bonuses, sitting and travel perks that stood at Sh61 million in the year to last June under Sang’s tenure.
And with his shock exit, Mr Sang joins a list of CEOs who have exited KPC unceremoniously. They include his immediate predecessor Charles Tanui in 2015, Mr Selest Kilinda in May 2013, Mr George Okungu in 2009, Dr Shem Ochuodho in December 2005, Dr Linus Cheruiyot who served between 2001 and 2004 following the dismissal of Mr Ezekiel Komen.
Mr Sang’s predecessor, Flora Akoth, led the parastatal in an acting capacity for less than one year before she went on compulsory leave and her position advertised under unclear circumstances.
Akoth’s short-lived stay is perhaps best remembered for the oil spillage in Makueni County that KPC blamed on a puncture on the Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline, devastating scores of families in 2015.
Preceding Ms Akoth at KPC was Charles Tanui who was sacked by the company board in 2015 and later charged with abuse of office including irregularly awarding a Sh29 million contract for the installation of auto-transformers.
He was also charged with abuse of office, including the dubious awarding of Sh647 million to briefcase companies for the supply of Hydrant pit valves used in aircraft fuelling at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
EACC raided Tanui’s residence in May this year with investigators intensiffying probe into the scandal and bringing to fore the ghosts facing one of its former chiefs.
Selest Kilinda who preceded Mr Tanui was fired by the board in 2013 after an internal audit found him culpable of employing family members.
George Okungu took over from Mr Kilinda but was sacked in June 2009 over inflation of a multi-billion contract to upgrade the Nairobi-Mombasa pipeline.
Taxpayers would pay Sh2.6 billion for the project but questionable variations under Okungu’s watch increased the cost to Sh8.1 billion upon completion, claims the government refuted.
The High Court stopped Okungu’s prosecution in 2014, ruling that he was a victim of selective prosecution and annulled corruption proceedings that were pending at the chief magistrate’s court.
Mr Ezekiel Komen was dismissed on allegations of abuse of office and breach of trust where he authorised payment of Sh65.2 million from the bank account of East African Gas where he was a signatory.
Linus Cheruiyot served between 2001 and 2004 before being hounded out of office , accused of conspiracy to defraud KPC of Sh339 million through a shady computerisation tender with Data Logistics Ltd.
Former Rangwe MP Dr Shem Ochuodho left in December 2005 under allegations of a Sh827 million fraud where he was accused alongside two others of conspiracy to defraud KPC through a bogus refinancing deal signed with Triple A Capital nearly 15 years ago.