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Former Kenya Power boss Ben Chumo arrested

By Mercy Asamba | Published Sat, July 14th 2018 at 13:06, Updated July 14th 2018 at 14:52 GMT +3

Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have arrested former Kenya Power CEO Ben Chumo on suspicion of committing an economic crime and abuse of office.

Chumo, who retired in January as the Managing Director of Kenya Power after attaining the age of 60, is accused of fraudulent acquisition of public property and aiding the commission of a felony.

DCI detectives also arrested Beatrice Meso, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs and Company Secretary and the General Manager Regional Co-ordination Peter Mwicigi.

“They are to be charged with offences of conspiring to commit an offence of economic crime namely fraudulent acquisition of public property, aiding commission of a felony, abuse of office, willful failure to comply with the law relating to procurement among other charges,” DCI said in a tweet.

In a statement to newsrooms, the DCI noted that Kenya Power is still under active investigations over a number of issues raised by the public recently. Among them is irregular tender supply of transformers and contracts for supply of labour and transport services.

DPP Noordin Haji has also ordered DCI to arrest and prosecute 10 top Kenya Power managers, several employees and directors of firms linked to tender supply graft.

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The 10 top managers accused of irregularly supplying tenders include; CEO Ken Tarus who was then General Manager, Finance, Peter Mungai Kinuthia (General Manager Business Strategy), Joshua Mutua (General Manager Commercial Services) and Abubakar Swaleh (General Manager Human Resource and Administration).

Others include; Samuel Ndirangu  (General Manager ICT), Stanley Mutwiri (General Manager Infrastucture Development) and John Ombuyi (General Manager Supply Chain).

The Kenya Power intrigues follows a damning report released in May by auditor General Edward Ouko that exposed how companies affiliated to staff bagged multi-billion shilling contracts to undertake emergency repairs on power infrastructure.

The report exposed the deep-seated rot at the power distribution firm.

Kenya Power staff within the circle, who do not have their own companies, get kickbacks to ensure the contractors retain their jobs.

Some of the employees forming the cartel are low cadre and include clerks and technicians, who are nevertheless well compensated.

“An examination of money transfers showed a trend where funds were exchanged between directors of the pre-qualified L&T firms and KPLC staff. KPLC employees were found to be working in strategic positions in regard to job execution, hence direct conflict of interest,” say the auditors.

Ben Chumo was appointed in June by President Uhuru Kenyatta as the Chairman of Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC). He is set to be vetted by the National Assembly committee on Finance and National Planning within 14 days after his nomination according to the SRC Act.

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