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KPC managers charged with Sh2 billion scandal

By Paul Ogemba | Dec 11th 2018 | 3 min read
Police officer un-handcuffs former Kenya Pipeline Managing Director Joe Sang (right) and Kenya Pipeline Head of Procurement Vincent Cheruiyot at Milimani law court where they were charged with abuse of office on 10/12/2018. [Beverlyne Musili,Standard]

An ambitious plan by Kenya Pipeline Company Ltd to expand its storage facilities in western Kenya turned out to be a cash cow that led to the loss of nearly Sh2 billion, a court heard yesterday.

The amount used to construct the Kisumu Oil Jetty was way above the budgeted amount, the prosecution said, adding that those involved in the scandal used their offices to approve exorbitant payments without following procedure.

Yesterday, former KPC Managing Director Joe Sang, Company Secretary Gloria Khafafa, Supply Chain Manager Vincent Cheruiyot, Infrastructure Manager Billy Aseka and Procurement Manager Nicholas Gitobu were charged with seven counts of abuse of office and engaging in a project without planning.

Whereas the prosecution termed the charges as serious economic crimes that deserve a stiff penalty, the accused persons' lawyers Tom Ojienda and Ahmednassir Abdullahi termed the charges as generic and of no consequence.

“Abuse of office charges are the most abused by the prosecution, they are charges that can be termed as generic for lack of a better word. They are about procedural improprieties and nothing to suggest the money was lost,” said Mr Ahmednassir.

In the first count, Mr Sang, Ms Khafafa, Mr Cheruiyot, Mr Aseka and Mr Gitobu were accused of engaging in a project without prior planning between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 at KPC headquarters in Nairobi by approving the construction of the Kisumu Oil Jetty which gobbled up Sh1,963,065,422.

Sang faced additional charges of abuse of office and wilful failure to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines relating to management of public funds.

“Between April 5, 2017 and May 31, 2017 at KPC being the MD, (Sang) used (his) office to improperly confer a benefit to Southern Engineering Company Ltd by awarding tender for the construction of Kisumu Oil Jetty at a cost of Sh1.9 billion an amount that exceeded the approved budget,” the charge sheet read.

Sang was also accused of wilfully failing to comply with section 68 of Public Finance Management Act by unlawfully authorising the payments.

Khafafa and Cheruiyot faced additional similar charges of using their positions to improperly confer a benefit to Southern Engineering Company Ltd by executing the contract in respect to the tender for the construction of Kisumu Oil Jetty at a cost that exceeded the approved budget.

Aseka was also charged with separate count of using his position to reopen a request for the tender.

“On October 5, 2017 in Nairobi being the GM Infrastructure at KPC Ltd (Aseka) used (his) office to improperly do requisition for the construction of Kisumu Oil Jetty after the tendering process had already been completed, an arbitrary act to the prejudice of the government of Kenya,” read the charges.

Gitobu is said to have used his office to initiate the procurement process for construction of the Kisumu Oil Jetty without a procurement plan.

Finance Manager Samuel Odoyo failed to appear and was ordered to present himself in court tomorrow to take plea.

Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti released each on a cash bail of Sh2 million and a personal bond of a similar amount. He also directed them to deposit their passports in court.

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