Financial plunder haunts KQ amid privatization debate

Financial plunder haunts KQ amid privatization debate

Kenya Airways Boeing 787 dreamliner at KQ headquarters in Nairobi on April 26,2017FILE Kenya Airways spent thousands of pounds to fly its top employees using rival airlines between 2017 and 2019, the Star has established, pointing to mismanagement and financial plunder at the loss-making carrier.

This adds to unapproved salary and allowances increment by the top brass, who were asked to refund (receivables from directors) Sh54 million, quoted in the airline’s 2018 financials.

Top ticket beneficiaries include Chairman Michael Joseph who on April 5, 2019, flew with British Airways between Nairobi (JKIA) and Heathrow, with KQ coughing £1,973.50 (about Sh 266,286.37) for the trip, on a route that the national carrier flies.

This was on ticket number 1258790293838.

On November 13, 2018, KQ spent £4,553.48 (about Sh 614,405.72) on British Airways tickets on the Nairobi-London route.

A whooping £6,615 (Sh892,568.72) was spent in the same airline and route on September 22, 2017.

Ordinarily, it would cost about Sh35,000 to fly an employee on an upgradable KQ ticket, an amount that covers for taxes only.

A remuneration increment that was not approved by the board, but with a nod by former Treasury CS Henry Rotich, saw both Joseph and former CEO Sebastian Mikosz asked to refund approximately Sh54 million.

While it is not clear if Mikosz made a refund, KQ received Sh12.6 million from its chairman in a receipt number 158785 on March 19, 2019, payment made via EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) from 14 Pembridge Crescent(London).

The former CEO was expected to make a refund of about Sh36 million.

“Receivables from directors included in other receivables are amounts due from directors amounting to Sh54 million,” the airline’s financial statement 2018, reads in part.The dealings took place even as the airline remained in losses.Last week, CEO Allan Kilavuka ruled out profitability in the near future, saying that even the planned nationalization is not a strategy to rescue the airline from its current financial woes.In a media interview, Kilavuka said the airline’s top priority as a strategic asset is to stir the economy and not merely focusing on profitability.He however remained optimistic that the airline was moving in the right direction towards reclaiming its past glory as of the Pride of Africa."I am confident that the structural reforms in place will return the airline to its former glory,’’ Kilavuka said.He cited coronavirus pandemic as one of the greatest impediments to the airline’s revenue, revealing that already Sh10 billion has been lost due […]

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