Probe launched into hiring of top Kenya Pipeline manager

Kenya Pipeline Company managing director Joe Sang (centre). FILE PHOTO | NMG
Kenya Pipeline Company managing director Joe Sang (centre). FILE PHOTO | NMG 

An internal battle has erupted at the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) following claims that it hired an individual with questionable academic qualifications to occupy a senior management position.

KPC is accused of hiring Peter Mbugua Njenga as general manager (operations and maintenance) despite his failure to meet key requirements for the position.

Mr Njenga did not submit Kenya Revenue Authority, National Police Service and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) clearance certificates as required for the job.

Investigations into claims that Mr Njenga does not hold the qualifications he claims to have are ongoing – including authentication of academic qualifications he claims to have obtained from American universities.

KPC documents show that only two candidates out of the 25 interviewed for the job — Onesmus Kemboi and Derek Okova — had all the required documents for the job, but were sidestepped in favour of Mr Njenga.

The documents further show that a subsequent review of Mr Njenga’s academic papers revealed that he had presented documents of questionable authenticity, casting doubt on the contents of his resume, which lists stints at global oil majors including Texas-based Exxon Mobil.

KPC managing director Joe Sang said investigations into the matter were ongoing.

“As an organisation, we shall co-operate with the agencies of government investigating the matter,” Mr Sang said.

Investigations into Mr Njenga’s credibility began after Dennis Kiragu, a Kenyan citizen who cites public interest in the matter, wrote a protest letter to KPC and EACC, among other institutions, accusing the state agency of irregularly employing the senior manager.

Mr Njenga clinched the job after he presented a Master of Science in Engineering Management from The University of Houston Clear Lake and a Bachelor of Science from Praire View A&M University as his academic qualifications.

Coldstone Investment, a HR consultancy that KPC hired to investigate the claims, found that some of the papers were not authentic.

“The background screening established that one Peter (Jabone) Mbugua Njenga secured his employment using forged and/or altered certificates and documents from various institutions,” the advisory firm said in a report to Mr Sang.

“Further, it was also established that other than one Exxon Mobil as provided in his CV, all other companies he claimed to have worked with are non-existent.”

Coldstone also reported that Mr Njenga used different names in his national identity card and passport. The consultancy firm recommended disciplinary action against Mr Njenga in addition to reporting the matter to law enforcement agencies.

Coldstone further said the learning institutions had disowned Mr Njenga’s academic qualifications, adding that sample copies of the universities’ certificates differed from what he had presented.

The KPC manager also used two names –Peter Mbugua Njenga and James Peter Mbugua— interchangeably.

Mr Kiragu says in the protest letter that Mr Njenga was picked despite lacking the necessary requirements and that some applicants met the criteria “but to the astonishment of myself as an individual with vested public interest rights, one Peter (Jabone) Mbugua Njenga, who only met four requirements and failed in more particular to submit a certificate of good conduct, EACC clearance and tax clearance which forms the basis of my complaint was appointed to the position.”

Other requirements for the job included a Masters degree in a relevant field and a minimum of 12 years’ experience, five of which should be at a senior level in charge of a busy operation, according to Mr Kiragu’s letter.