The national power distributor Kenya Power staff are set to undergo a lifestyle audit in a move to get rid of staff who may be the cause of graft which is threatening to bring down the power firm.
The clean-up exercise which is targeting the Executive team in the first phase will extend to the lower ranks after the initial target group. The national power firm boast of more than 10,000 employees.
The exercise is focusing on weeding out suspected rogue employees engaging in corruption at the giant power firm, which has recently been rocked by massive corruption cases and huge losses despite enjoying monopoly of supplying power to the entire country. A former Kenya Power Managing Director, his successor and 17 others are facing corruption charges involving more than Kshs. 400million. A new team was appointed to take over.
The lead anti-graft agency Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is expected to assist with verifying the wealth held by each of the employees.
The exercise is being carried out as part of the recommendations of a task force appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to look into the woes that saw the utility firm post a net loss of Kshs. 2.98 billion in the 2019/2020 Financial Year, a first in 17 years, which shocked the nation due to the profitability of the power firm.
The employees are being vetted for integrity, suitability, and qualifications and the vetting will rely their wealth declarations disclosures, which has increasingly been relied on to expose hidden wealth held by individual public servants suspected of living beyond their known sources of income.
The taskforce also recommended an overhaul of the procurement department and recruit new staff.
The firm has been on a shocking loss of funds, involving scandalous procurements of substandard transformers, dead stock, suspect power purchase deals with independent producers among other financial woes.
Earlier this month, the National government declared Kenya Power a ‘Special Project’ and said a team would oversee reforms at the utility firm, and look into ways of bringing down the cost of power by 33 percent from Kshs.24 to Kshs.16 per unit by December this year. An audit of contracts with independent power producers is also going on.
An inter-ministerial committee including Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the Financial Reporting Centre and Assets Recovery Agency is currently conducting a fresh audit of Kenya Power’s supply and demand needs, and pricing policies.
The corruption suspected to have led to very high electricity costs has had wide effects including loss of investment flows to the country as investors moved their businesses to neighboring countries where power is cheaper. Other big firms have set up their private power production facilities. The common Kenyans have had no alternative other than to dig a deeper hole in their pockets and dwindling resources in the midst of a global pandemic just to light their homes and home appliances.