What you need to know:
- Former CEO Jon Abbas Zaidi was shown the door over allegations of financial misconduct.
- The Turkana wind firm is one of the cheaper power producers, but is embroiled in mismanagement.
Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) has confirmed appointment of insider Phylip Leferink as new Chief Executive.
Mr Leferink takes over from Mr David Mwangi who has been serving as CEO in an acting capacity from July following suspension of former boss Jon Abbas Zaidi, who has since been axed from the company.
Mr Zaidi, who had been at the helm of the company since his appointment to replace founding CEO Rizwan Fazal in November 2019, was shown the door over allegations of financial misconduct.
His short tenure ended alongside the company’s Chief Finance Officer Ashish Chadda both fingered for allegedly irregularly paying themselves from the firm’s coffers without the Board’s approval, which saw PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) hired to do a forensic audit of the company’s books.
“The Board of Directors of Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) has announced the appointment of Phylip Leferink as the Chief Executive Officer,” LTWP said in a statement.
A task force appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta in March to look into the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) has recommended review of existing agreements that Kenya Power has with power producers to lower the cost of power.
However, it is unclear how the government will manage to review the legally binding agreements within the December timeline as the fresh drive to shed expensive power producers from the grid begins.
The Turkana wind firm is one of the cheaper power producers, but is embroiled in mismanagement as well as credibility questions after it emerged that electricity consumers are paying to it billions of shillings for late completion of a high voltage transmission line.
“Mr Leferink takes over the reins of Kenya’s leading wind power producer from Eng. David Munene Mwangi, who has been serving on an interim basis following the exit of Mr Jon Zaidi in July this year. Mr Leferink’s appointment will take effect immediately,” it said.
LTWP chairman Mugo Kibati, in a statement yesterday, said the new CEO will bring key experience to the company, having overseen construction of its wind farm in Loiyangalani.
“Phylip is very familiar with the project having served as the General Manager of the Company from August 2015 to July 2018 with the overall responsibility of the construction management,” Mr Kibati said.
Wealth of experience
He added: “He is credited for ensuring the successful completion of the wind farm on time, within budget and in accordance with the highest international standards and ensuring a smooth transition into the operations phase.”
Mr Leferink joins from Canadian energy firm JCM Power where he was serving as the Director for Malawi, a post he had held since July 2018.
LTWP is seeking to tap on the new CEO’s wealth of experience in the energy sector and insider knowledge of the firm, having served at the company as General Manager for three years before leaving in 2018 for Lilongwe.
Mr Leferink, who holds a Masters in Business Administration from Rotterdam-based Erasmus University, had joined the wind power firm from Johannesburg, where he was serving as Country Director for Danish wind turbines manufacturer Vestas.
He comes in at a time focus has been firmly trained on its sole customer Kenya Power, which has been declared a special government project as the State unleashes its investigative agencies to unearth the extend of the rot at the company.