MPs are now pushing for Kenya Power’s board members to be sent home over procurement battles with management as problems at the country’s only electricity distributor mount.
Members of the National Assembly’s Energy Committee accused the Kenyan Power Board, headed by Chair Vivienne Yeda, of rejecting parliamentary summons to explain irregularities in tenders.
On Thursday, Nakuru Town East’s energy committee chairman David Gikaria accused the bureau of disregarding the authority of parliament.
“This committee has the power to recommend the dissolution of the Kenya Power board of directors. This committee oversees Kenya Power. We can’t have a board promoting procurement irregularities while we sit back, ”Gikaria said.
Fafi MP Abdikarim Osman announced that the committee would recommend that the House of Representatives dissolve the Kenyan power board for disregarding parliamentary summons and promoting selfish procurement interests.
“It is not appropriate for a board of directors who are supposed to oversee the management of the company to influence the issuing of bids. This is a conflict of interest and the board is therefore not obliged to continue its work, ”said Mr. Osman.
It’s not clear how MPs will oust the board, considering that Kenya Power is a publicly traded company whose directors can only be removed by shareholders.
MPs’ plan to dismiss the board comes after Kenya Power officials pushed for the board to be dismissed for usurping management’s mandate.
Through the Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers’ Union (Ketawu), the employees of Kenya Power have further accused the board of enforcing their selfish interests in procurement.
Ketawu specifically highlighted the CEO and members Caroline Kittony, Elizabeth Rogo and Gudka for pushing lucrative contracts with Indian and Chinese companies.
The MPs’ failed grilling comes after former Kenya Power CEO Bernard Ngugi was allegedly pushed off the board during a stormy August meeting when the bidding wars at the state facility were feverish.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is already investigating board members for irregular purchases and a number of statements have been made.
Mr. Osman accused a powerful person, whom he did not name, of messing up the operations at the power distribution board and allowing it to run like his own business.
“This committee will not allow anyone to mess with Kenya Power. We are independent, the true representatives of the people, and nowhere do we take instructions, ”said Osman.
Last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta combined rail, pipeline and port operations under the Kenya Transport and Logistics Network (KTLN) and placed them under the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC).
Although the president’s move was to ensure the efficiency of the operations of four government agencies in realizing the country’s strategic agenda of becoming a regional logistics hub, little was achieved.
The Fafi MP also accused senior government officials, who he did not name, of blocking payments of $ 49 billion to a company that built the Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline – Zakhem International Construction (ZIC) Ltd.
The late payments include the extension of deadlines and final certificate claims amounting to around Sh 10 billion.
The Energy Committee also has information that Kenya Power owes Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) Sh23 billion in unpaid utility bills.