MPs push to have Kenya Power board dissolved

Vivienne Yeda.

Kenya Power board chairperson Vivienne Yeda. MPs are now pushing to have Kenya Power board members sent home over procurement fights with the managemen

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

MPs are now pushing to have Kenya Power board members sent home over procurement fights with the management as problems at the country’s sole electricity distributor soar.

Members of the National Assembly’s Energy committee accused the Kenya Power board led by chairperson Vivienne Yeda of snubbing parliamentary summons to explain irregularities in tendering.

Thursday, Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria, who chairs the Energy committee, accused the board of disrespecting the authority of Parliament.

“This committee has the powers to recommend the dissolution of the Kenya Power board. This committee oversights Kenya Power. We cannot have a board that is hell-bent in promoting procurement irregularities as we sit back,” Mr Gikaria said.

Fafi MP Abdikarim Osman revealed that the committee will recommend to the House to have the Kenya Power board disbanded for disregarding parliamentary summons as well as promoting selfish procurement interests.

“It is not proper to have a board that is supposed to oversight the management influence the awarding of tenders. This is conflict of interest and the board, therefore, has no obligation to continue serving,” said Mr Osman.

It is not clear how the MPs will force out the board considering that Kenya Power is a publicly listed company whose directors can only be removed by shareholders.

Staff pressure

The MPs' plan to have the board fired comes after Kenya Power employees pushed for the disbandment of the board for usurping the mandate of the management.

Through the Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers’ Union (Ketawu), the Kenya Power staff have further accused the board of pushing their selfish interests in the procurement.

Ketawu specifically singled out the board chair and members Caroline Kittony, Elizabeth Rogo and Sachen Gudka for pushing lucrative contracts to Indian and Chinese-owned firms.

The failed grilling by the MPs comes after former Kenya Power CEO Bernard Ngugi was allegedly pushed out by the board during a stormy meeting in August tas the tender wars at the State facility hit fever pitch.

Already, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is investigating the board members over irregular procurements and a number have recorded statements.

Mr Osman accused a powerful individual he did not name of messing up operations at the electricity distributor and having it 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 we do not take directions from anywhere,” Mr Osman said.

Last year President Uhuru Kenyatta consolidated rail, pipeline and port operations under the Kenya Transport and Logistics Network (KTLN) and placed it under the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC).

Regional hub

Although the President’s move was to ensure efficiency in the operations of four State agencies in the realisation of the country’s strategic agenda of becoming a regional logistics hub, little has been achieved.

The Fafi MP further accused the senior government officer he did not name for blocking payments Sh49 billion payment to a firm that built the Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline — Zakhem International Construction (ZIC) Ltd.

The delayed payments include the extension of time and final certificate claims, amounting to about Sh10 billion.

The Energy committee also has information that Kenya Power owes Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) Sh23 billion in unpaid electricity bills.