SECTIONS

Audit clears more suspended Kenya Power procurement bosses

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Energy Gordon Kihalangwa [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

A forensic audit has cleared most of the officials at Kenya Power procurement department who had been suspended to pave way for investigations.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Energy Gordon Kihalangwa told Parliament yesterday that the team that has been vetting the 59 officials from the supply chain department had concluded its work and cleared most of the officials.

Kenya Power had in November last year suspended senior staff from the supply chain division as it sought to implement some of the recommendations of the Presidential Taskforce on Review of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).

The taskforce, which was formed in March last year to look into ways Kenya can reduce power costs, had noted that some of Kenya Power’s major problems have been due to procurement malpractices and recommended the replacement of the entire team.

Mr Kihalangwa, who appeared before National Assembly’s Energy Committee, did not however disclose the number of employees who had been cleared. “At least we have gotten responses and we are now analysing them. Looking at the results, almost all of them have been cleared. It is just a question of onboarding them back,” said Kihalangwa.

He did not explain what ‘onboarding them back’ would entail but the taskforce had recommended that the company should “replace (redeploy or redesignate) all the staff in the procurement department and recruit new staff”.

The team was suspended in November for three months to allow for a forensic audit. The PS explained that they extended the suspension this year to allow for the conclusion of the audit, which he said was done in line with the company’s internal rules.

The audit was in line with guidance issued by the Public Service Commission. “Reforms can be painful but we have tried to do this in a very humane way and cognisant of labour laws… even when they were suspended, we never took away their pay,” he said.

The PS also told the committee that Kenya Power has resumed installation of metres for new customers, ending months during which customer connections though completed lacked metres and with it loss of revenue for the company.

Kenya Power had cancelled a multi-billion contract for the supply of metres in July last year, citing quality issues with the gadgets. This meant stalled connections for customers.

Kihalangwa said the firm recently procured 500,000 metres, which have been installed at customers’ premises. It has placed orders for over one million more metres, with delivery expected in the coming weeks.

“We have another consignment of 500,000 metres expected in the next two weeks and we have also placed another order of 600,000… this will no longer be an issue, we will have a flow of metres,” he said.