Some current and former Kenya Airways employees who contributed to the financial mess at the airline will soon find themselves behind bars. The airline yesterday announced it had started to implement preliminary findings of forensic investigations by audit firm Deloitte.
Based on the findings, KQ said it had since started disciplinary proceedings against staff found culpable. “These actions include the suspension of staff members in order to facilitate the successful completion of the forensic investigations,” said the airline in a statement to newsrooms yesterday.
And in a new twist to the KQ woes, the firm gave the clearest hint that its failure was not entirely a result of poor management, but there might have been criminal activities including fraud which might have contributed to the airline’s current woes.
“The company is also evaluating the findings with a view to further action against culpable staff, including potential criminal prosecution and recovery proceedings, as appropriate,” the airline said.
However, it was not immediately clear the kind of crimes for which these employees were being investigated.
The company said that further investigations were continuing and action would be taken as a result.
It said based on the preliminary results of the forensic investigations, the airline had identified systemic and internal control weaknesses and was implementing far-reaching remedial actions.
Last month, human resources director Alban Mwendar and flight operations manager Paul Mwangi were among those who left the airline in a compromise that informed the suspension of the eight-hour pilots’ strike.
Other top managers that caved in to the pressure from angry pilots who were also after Managing Director Mbuvi Ngunze’s scalp included safety director Alex Avedi.
In the year ending March 2015, the NSE-listed company sunk to a historic loss of Sh29 billion as it grappled with tough economic times and dwindling passenger numbers. Trouble at the airline has seen it dispose of some of its prime properties as well as aircraft. The troubled airline has also sold two Boeing aircraft as it sought to find much-needed cash to keep it afloat.
KQ also plans sell its 30-acre prime piece of land in Embakasi, Nairobi. In April this year, the company announced that it would lay off about 600 employees as it sought to scale down on its huge expenditure.
The objective of the Deloitte audit that was commissioned in February was stopping any revenue and cash flow hemorrhage and implementing an effective internal control environment to support and drive business. The firm said the findings of the audit would be key in complementing the ongoing turnaround strategy.