Senators propose 11 member committee to probe KQ financial status

NAIROBI, KENYA: The Opposition wants the Senate to constitute a select committee to probe the dwindling fortunes of the national carrier, Kenya Airways (KQ).
In a notice of motion in the House, Senator Anyang' Nyongo (Kisumu) proposed that the committee should comprise of 11 senators and should be tasked with the duty of investigating why KQ is incurring huge losses and also the frequent cancellation of flights.
Those proposed to sit on the select committee are senators Nyong'o, Mutahi Kagwe (Nyeri), Omar Hassan (Mombasa), Daniel Karaba (Kirinyaga), Boni Khalwale (Kakamega), Agnes Zani (Nominated), Peter Mositet (Kajiado), Wilfred Lessan (Bomet), Billow Kerrow (Mandera), James Orengo (Siaya) and Naisula Lesuuda (Nominated),
Prof Nyongo noted with deep concern that KQ, which has been one of the reputable airlines in Africa is going under and therefore if the House forms the committee as a matter of urgency, it will work under strict timelines and table a report within three months.
"The committee will inquire into, among other things the leasing and buying of the fleet at the airline and other investments KQ has engaged in since 1996," said Nyongo.
He continued, "The committee will also be required to investigate the role of offshore in these investments and where necessary, the identity of the shareholders in these offshore companies made public."
Prof Nyongo, who was backed by Minority leader Moses Wetangula (Bungoma), explained that his decision to push for a probe on the declining fortunes of KQ is informed by an after-tax loss of Sh10.5 billion for the half year to September 30, reversing a profit of Sh384 million they made in a similar period in 2013.
Nyongo took to the floor and gave notice for the motion saying it was sponsored by Cord, and maintained that if the House adopts the motion and establishes the committee, a report should be tabled before the House within three months.
"We also want the committee to investigate employment policies, starting from pilots, the crew and other ground staff within the airline and establish the reason of delay in KQ flights and why the delays have become frequent in the recent past," he added.
Nyongo noted that KQ incur high costs in cancellation of flights, which has contributed to the present state of the airline.
"We should be told why of late there are so many delays and cancellations," stressed Nyongo.
Senator Wilfred Machage (Migori) observed, "The request couldn't have come at a better time than now because KQ has ceased being the Pride of Africa to something like the Plight of Kenya."
The Kenya Airways management has argued that its earnings were affected by slow growth in passenger numbers despite their investments in new aircraft, as it handled 2.1 million passengers over the period — an 8.2 per cent increase from 1.94 million 2013.

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