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Reprieve for agency as court lifts order on electricity poles

NEWS
By Paul Ogemba | Jun 5th 2019 | 2 min read
By Paul Ogemba | June 5th 2019
NEWS

The High Court has lifted orders that had stopped re-treatment and supply of wooden electricity poles for the rural electrification programme.

The decision by Justice James Makau came as a relief to thousands of communities at risk of missing out on the Government’s mega project to supply power in rural homes.

It also came as a relief for the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC), which claimed it was at risk of losing more than 50,000 poles worth Sh800 million if the orders stayed in force.

On May 8, the judge stopped the agency from returning the poles to supplies for re-treatment after a petition by Inter Tropical Timber Trading Ltd and businessman Geoffrey Ng'ang'a Kariuki.

Mr Kariuki had alleged in his application that there was collusion of top REREC officials and suppliers in approval of substandard poles, and that returning them for re-treatment was irregular and a plot to defraud public funds.

But in the application to set aside the orders, REREC lawyer Dennis Mosota accused the businessman of being a bitter person after losing out in the tender to supply poles. He accused him of deliberately lying to court that the purpose of returning the poles was to defraud public funds.

“He failed to tell the court he was denied the tender for failing to adhere to contractual terms and misrepresented facts out of bitterness. He lied that the agency wanted to defraud public funds when the purpose of returning the poles was to save public funds,” said Mosota.

The agency had sourced 51,238 poles from 18 supplies and stored them in their Makuyu, Mariakani and Awasi yards. But after realising some were sub-standard, it decided to send them back to the supplies for re-treatment to conform to required standards.

Mr Mosota said the order would affect the agency’s Last Mile Connectivity project and stall all its activities, which in the long run would cause more damage and loss to taxpayers.

The main suit will be heard on June 19.

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