By MACHARIA KAMAU
President Uhuru Kenyatta has moved to quell boardroom wars at Geothermal Development Company (GDC) by moving chairman Simon Gicharu to Rural Electrification Authority (REA).
He swapped roles with Faisal Abbas who has been chairman REA and who will now chair GDC.
Gicharu has lasted only a few months into the job, having been appointed to chair the government-owned GDC in December 2013. He has in the five months been on the warpath with his chief executive Silas Simiyu, who he had accused of having abused his office and sought to have him kicked out.
Among the claims made against Simiyu include acquisition of drilling rigs through improper procedures.
GDC had landed a $70 million loan from one of its lenders to buy two rigs. After going through a procurement process to identify a supplier, it turned out that the money was enough to acquire an extra rig and hence contracted Sichuan Honghua Petroleum Equipment of China to supply three rigs instead of two.
The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum has in the past tried to mediate between the two and asked Gicharu to convene a board meeting to discuss the allegations he had on Simiyu.
GDC is mandated to derisk areas with huge potential for geothermal through drilling of exploratory wells and inviting private sector to develop power plants where they find viable wells. It has so far done extensive works at Menengai and is expected to start developing power plants with private sector players.
But speaking to the Standard on Saturday, Gicharu thanked the President for the new appointment saying it’s ‘more relevant’ to his job.
“I am an accomplished educationist and the new opportunity enables me to take a lead role in provision of infrastructural support in readiness for the rollout of the laptop project that is a key flagship project of the Jubilee government,” he said.