Kenya Power Board Summoned in EACC Tenders Probe

Kenya Power Board Summoned in EACC Tenders Probe

The anti-corruption watchdog has summoned non-executive board members of troubled electricity distributor Kenya Power to record statements over a fresh procurement scandal that has rocked that utility company.

In a letter to the Kenya Power board chair Ms Vivienne Yeda seen by the Nation, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) boss Twalib Mbarak wants Ms Yeda alongside eight others to appear before its officers between Tuesday and Thursday this week.

"The Commission is investigating allegations of interference in procurement processes by the board of directors," Mr Mbarak writes in a letter addressed to Ms Yeda dated September 10, 2021.

"To progress the investigation, kindly facilitate the below listed members of the board of directors to appear before our investigators at our Integrity Center offices for interview and statement recording," the letter reads.

Besides Ms Yeda, the other board members summoned include engineer Abdularaq Ali, Caroline Kittony Njoroge Muhu, Elizabeth Rogo and Kairo Thuo. Others summoned are Mr Sachen Gudka, Isaac Kiva and Humphrey Muhu.

The summons come weeks after the board pushed out the utility’s Chief Executive Officer Benard Ngugi, before the end of his term, after a stormy board meeting in August.

Mr Ngugi was the fourth CEO whose tenure has been cut short at the company in the past four years as the parastatal hopped from one scandal to another.

Kenya Power has been bogged down by several procurement scandals in recent years ranging from faulty meters to over-priced transformers, a billing and power tokens scams. The most recent procurement scandal to erupt at the utility company involved single-sourcing of a public relations company.

After Ms Yeda took over the board last November, she promised to initiate changes to clean the mess left by her predecessors. Ms Yeda, who served as the Director General of East African Development Bank before her appointment to the Kenya power board, said the company’s previous scandals were enabled by a lack of institutional controls.

"The absence of a robust institutional framework created a vacuum, which inevitably was filled by all types (of people) who, for instance, drove Kenya Power into becoming a veritable procurement machine," Ms Yeda recently told shareholders at the firm’s AGM.

Sources at the utility firm say her board has since taken an active role in management, including querying procurement decisions and dropping management’s strategy to increase tariff rates.The Employment and Labour Relations Court in November 2020 dismissed a petition to remove Mr Ngugi from office due to […]

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