Kenya Power technicians at work.

| File | Nation Media Group

Union opposes scrutiny of Kenya Power staff finances

A union has rejected a decision by Kenya Power to scrutinise the financial statements of workers in an ongoing lifestyle audit.

The Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers Union (Ketawu) said it is wrong for Kenya Power to order its staff and their spouses to provide M-Pesa and bank statements, adding that it amounts to a breach of privacy.

Ketawu Secretary General Ernest Nadome said Kenya Power workers declare their wealth every year and that it is illogical for the management to demand such statements.

“We have told the workers not to provide their personal details to the employer. Let the firm implement the recommendations of the task force set up by the President,” Mr Nadome said.

Kenya Power staff and their spouses were thrown into panic yesterday after being ordered to present their financial and asset records as part of an audit aimed at fighting fraud.

Kenya Power General Manager in charge of Human Resources and Administration, Cecilia Kalungu-Uvyu, said the workers and their spouses are required to present certified copies of the financial records, including bank accounts and mobile money statements for the last six months, by Monday.

Immovable assets

They also need to declare movable and immovable assets, companies owned or co-owned as well as shares held in companies complete with details of returns filed with the Kenya Revenue Authority for the last three years.

“You are notified to provide information on club membership, social media accounts or handles and list liabilities including loans, mortgages, chattels, guarantees, school fees and school accounts, cumulative insurance policies and holidays,” Ms Kalungu-Uvyu said in a memo to staff, adding that the information would be treated with confidentiality.

But Mr Nadome said Kenya Power did not inform the union that it needs additional documents from staff for the audit.

He said it is wrong for the parastatal to ask for such documents “since workers have never even seen their spouses’ payslips”.

The audit is part of the recommendations of a task force formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to look into the problems that saw the utility post a loss of Sh939 million in the financial year that ended in June 2020 – the first loss in 17 years – despite the huge potential for profits.

Kenya Power, however, bounced back to profitability in the 2020/21 fiscal year on account of growth in revenue, attributed to a huge demand for cheaper electricity.

Sh1.49 billion

The parastatal reported a net profit of Sh1.49 billion.

The task force recommended that Kenya Power employees be vetted afresh for integrity, suitability and qualification for the jobs held.

The team, which was chaired by Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) boss John Ngumi, also called for an overhaul of the procurement department.

Early this month, the parastatal suspended 59 procurement officers to pave the way for a forensic audit.

Tender fights at Kenya Power saw its executive resign in August. Kenya Power said the suspension is in line with the recommendation of the task force.

The State-owned company has been in the spotlight following financial haemorrhage attributed to procurement.