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Murkomen alleges sabotage at JKIA, wants IG to open probe

Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Roads and Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen has written to the Inspector-General of Police Japheth Koome to investigate possible economic sabotage following the failure of backup generators at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

In a letter dated December 11, Murkomen, seemingly frustrated that efforts he had instituted would not have led to the reported generator failures, asked Mr Koome to ensure that there were no possible acts of hidden hands in the repeat failures.

“The purpose of this letter is to request you to assign a team of investigators to investigate this recent failure to ensure that these are not acts of sabotage taking into account that JKIA is a facility of strategic national security and economic importance,” read Murkomen’s letter.

The letter was copied to Head of Public Service Felix Koskei, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki, and KAA acting Managing Director Henry Ogoye.

The CS said JKIA has in the recent past experienced similar incidents where there has been failure of changeover to the standby generators which resulted in some parts of the airport remaining in the dark.

“The matter has been addressed progressively and numerous tests conducted to ensure that there is an immediate changeover in the event of a power outage…. However, despite all the above interventions, JKIA experienced another failure of the changeover to the standby generators last night," said Murkomen.

He directed KAA management to ensure that the officers from the IG’s office received needed support.

The first power outage in August left travellers stranded at the JKIA for four hours. The CS sent the then KAA Managing Director Alex Gitari packing and made a reshuffle of senior managers in the State corporation.

Since then, the CS has instituted a series of measures at KAA. He formed an expert committee to assess the state of JKIA, Wilson and Moi airports.

In its interim report, the committee made far-reaching recommendations that include the replacement of defective screening equipment with 3-D technology to avoid searches, and the building of a roof on terminals 1B, 1C, and D.

The report also called for the immediate commissioning of the standby generators to provide primary backup and immediate provision of the additional secondary backup generator to Terminals 1A, 1E, and 2 for seamless power in case of outage.

The report also raises alarm on the mushrooming developments around Wilson Airport that are choking the facility, one of the busiest in Africa.

Speaking while receiving the report, Murkomen directed the KAA to implement the report in its entirety.

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