Wind turbines

Some of the wind turbines at the Lake Turkana Wind Power project in Loiyangalani, Marsabit County in June 2018.

| File | AFP

Treasury in the dark about Sh785m paid to Lake Turkana Wind Power

What you need to know:

  • Treasury PS Julius Muia asks for more time to confirm the events that led to the excess payment.
  • National Assembly committee is investigating how Kenya Power made the excess payment to LTWP.

The National Treasury has told MPs that it’s not aware of the Sh785 million excess payment made to Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP).

Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia yesterday told the National Assembly Public Investments Committee (PIC) that the money paid to the firm did not come from the consolidated fund but on a vote head of the Ministry of the Energy.

“I am not aware. I would have to check on our records,” Mr Muia told MPs when asked about the excess payment.

Appearing before the committee yesterday over the special audit of LTWP, currently being examined by the lawmakers, Mr Muia said he needed more time to check on the available documents at the Treasury to confirm the events that led to the excess payment.

In regards to the excess amount earning interest that could end up in individual pockets, Mr Muia said it would be unfortunate if some people were getting money in form of interest out of the payment made.

“We are interested in getting value for money. It would be unfair if someone is getting interest from the excess amount paid,” he said.

Excess payment

MPs, however, pressed the PS on how, for a whole year, the ministry failed to provide correct bank details to LTWP so that the taxpayers money could be recovered.

The lawmakers also wondered how many other instances exist and are not in the public domain, where the government has made excess payment to various projects it’s undertaking.

“The excess payment is a lot of money. We are talking about an amount that can be given to seven constituencies for a whole year in terms of Constituency Development Fund,” said the committee chairman Abdulswamad Nassir.

“What is more shocking is that you are telling us that you are not aware of this payment, a year later. In addition, you are yet to provide the correct bank details for the refund of the excess payment,” he added.

Likoni MP Mishi Mboko said the issues surrounding the payment aren’t adding up and the fact that correct account details to refund the excess payment also leaves more unanswered questions.

Idle power charges

The committee is investigating how Kenya Power made the excess payment to LTWP and why the utility firm and State officials have been hesitant to receive the money.

The excess payment was for idle power charges paid in 2020, citing a lack of sufficient details of the ultimate beneficiary of the millions of shillings paid to the CBK account.

The payment followed delays in the construction of the transmission station to evacuate power from the 40,000-acre Loyalangalani wind farm in Marsabit County to the national grid.

The investor received €45,197,003 (about Sh5.7 billion in 2021) when what was due to it was €39,023,703 (Sh4.9 billion), hence the excess of €6,173,296 (Sh785 million).

The Marsabit-based power firm says it transferred excess payment to Standard Chartered Bank in December after Kenya Power provided the bank details for the transfer but the money was rejected and returned to the power firm account.

The committee has directed the Treasury to appear before them next Thursday with details of the person who authorised the excess payment, when it will be recovered and the interest that the excess payment has earned so far.

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