Kenya Power board chairperson Vivienne Yeda

Kenya Power board chairperson Vivienne Yeda when she appeared before National Assembly Energy Committee on September 16, 2021.

| Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

Kenya Power: Graveyard for top careers

Kenya Power is quickly turning into a graveyard for corporate careers.

Executives picked from private firms are ending up under the radar of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), with some dragged to court or dismissed, as the company jumps from one scandal to the next.

Nine directors of the cash-strapped monopoly are the latest in a growing list of private sector professionals, career civil servants and others to record statements with the EACC over the most recent procurement scandal to rock Kenya Power.

The Daily Nation has learnt that some directors summoned by EACC have not recorded statements, even as it emerges that the agency suspended summonses issued to a number of board members.

However, EACC says some directors have recorded statements.

“Those who came recorded statements,” EACC spokesman, Yassin Amaro, said Thursday.

Nine officials summoned

Commission chief executive Twalib Mbarak last week summoned nine Kenya Power officials, including board chairperson Vivienne Yeda.

Prior to being picked by Kenya Power, Ms Yeda was director-general, East African Development Bank.

Other board members summoned were former Transport PS Abdulrazaq Ali, Ms Caroline Kittony, Mr Njoroge Muhu (a lawyer), Ms Elizabeth Rogo (founder and CEO of Tsavo Oilfield Services) and Mr Kairo Thuo (a lawyer and an accountant, who is also the founder partner of Viva Africa Consulting LLP).

The others were former chairman Kenya Association of Manufacturers Sachen Gudka, Mr Isaac Kiva (secretary, Renewable Energy at the Ministry of Energy) as well as Mr Humprey Muhu, the alternate director to Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani.

It is not clear why EACC chose the nine and left out three others on the Kenya Power Board – Mr Joseph Njoroge, the Energy PS and a former CEO of Kenya Power, Ms Imelda Bore – Kenya Power Company Secretary – and Ms Rosemary Oduor, the acting Kenya Power boss.

Clean mess

Ms Yeda promised to clean the mess left by her predecessors when she took over in November. She blamed the scandals on lack of institutional controls.

The EACC asked the nine board members to appear at its offices between Tuesday and Thursday this week.

“The commission is investigating allegations of interference in procurement by the board of directors,” Mr Mbarak said in a September 10 letter addressed to Ms Yeda.

The Daily Nation phoned to find out if Ms Yeda presented herself at Integrity Centre but she did not pick our calls.

It was a busy day for the Kenya Power Board Thursday as Ms Yeda appeared before the National Assembly Energy Committee to answer queries on the new scandal.

Session cancelled

However, the session was cancelled as a majority of the board members failed to show up.

Only three board members – Ms Oduor, Ms Yeda and Ms Bore – turned up.

National Assembly Energy Committee Chairman David Gikaria postponed the meeting.

Mr Mbarak did not pick our calls or respond to text messages on why he changed tune on the summonses, even as sources familiar with the matter said the agency had been accused of witch-hunt and being used to derail reforms at Kenya Power.

The summonses come weeks after the board pushed out Kenya Power CEO Benard Ngugi before the end of his term.

Mr Ngugi is the fourth chief executive in four years whose tenure has been cut short.

Kenya Power has been bogged down by procurement scandals – from faulty meters and inflated transformers, to billing and tokens.

The High Court in November 2020 dismissed a petition to remove Mr Ngugi from office. He was one of the few senior managers who remained at Kenya Power when another scandal forced out 10 others, including his predecessor Ken Tarus.