State-owned Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) has started the hunt for a new chief executive to occupy what is considered one of the hottest business leadership positions in Kenya, which has seen seven previous occupants exit unceremoniously in just under two decades.
The hunt began after Joe Sang announced yesterday that he was quitting amid investigations into the disappearance of 21 million litres of fuel valued at about Sh2 billion.
Mr Sang, whose tumultuous first three-year term was to expire in April 2019, handed in a resignation letter during yesterday’s board meeting, which allowed the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and forensic auditors to investigate the loss in the past two years.
The KPC management he supervises has maintained that the unaccounted for fuel either spilt or was stolen by vandals, a claim countered by oil marketers who are seeking their own forensic audit.
Ten leading oil marketers, in an October 26 letter, sought to be allowed to conduct their own investigations into the loss that has become the centre of a fight between them and the KPC management in recent months.
KPC chairman John Ngumi said the scandal-dogged oil distributor will immediately engage a consultant to kick-start a competitive recruitment process for a new CEO.
Mr Ngumi said Mr Sang had cited undisclosed “personal reasons” for not wishing to renew his contract when it expires in March.
There were indications that Mr Sang would be leaving as early as this week, four months ahead of his term.
“Those are the details that we will need to resolve in the next few days… because we went into the board meeting with one agenda which was to discuss the fuel losses and he then told us this (resignation),” Mr Ngumi said on phone when asked about the time Mr Sang will be exiting KPC.
Mr Sang’s six previous predecessors have been sacked from the cash-rich KPC – which charges Sh2.50 to pump a litre of petroleum product to Nairobi from Mombasa – under a cloud of accusations ranging from corruption to fraud to nepotism.
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.