MPs seek public support in Kenya pipeline probe

KPC is facing probe on its operations mainly the recent oil spill

In Summary

• Parliament has called on the public to give in their views on Kenya Pipeline operations.

• KPC board and management has welcomed the move saying it will help paint the true picture of the company as opposed to current negative media reports.

Kenya Pipeline Company.Photo/FILE
Kenya Pipeline Company.Photo/FILE

Parliament is now seeking public input in its 'unending' probe on Kenya Pipeline even as the state agency remains cooperative and open to house summons and scrutiny.

The National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Energy yesterday called on the public to give in their views to support its probe on Kenya Pipeline Company(KPC)'s “compliance with legal and policy requirements.”

The Committee chaired by Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria is questioning KPC's budgeting and procurement, the status of the company's storage and transportation infrastructure, including incidents of spillage and loss of petroleum products and the attendant environmental impact.

“In the recent past, the company has been reported in negative light with regard to the management of its affairs, frequent and unexplained spillages, loss of petroleum products, and managerial conflicts which do not conform to accepted principles of corporate governance,” a notice by National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai, placed in a local daily yesterday, read in part.

This adds up to a series of summons where KPC's management and board, including Chairman John Ngumi, have appeared before parliament close to ten times this year, to give operational updates and answer to inquiries on the company's undertakings.

Members of the public are required to submit “any views they may have on the inquiry” on or before Wednesday next week.

The inquiry comes almost five months after an oil spill occurred on the new 450-kilometer-Sh48 billion Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline, at Kiboko in Makueni county, where KPC is currently rehabilitating the spillage site after successfully managing it.

Preliminary results have indicated the March this year spill did not affect water bodies around the area and was not a threat to humans and wildlife.

KPC was also hit by an oil siphoning scam at Mlolongo area earlier this year where millions of litres of petroleum products are suspected to have been lost, in what is believed to have been an insider job.

It has also had management challenges where the CEO's office has failed to secure a long-term substantial manager.

Earlier this month, KPC disassociated itself from claims raised by the contractor of the new pipeline which had a leak leading to the spill.

The management said Zakhem International Construction Limited should stop blame games as it failed to deliver to Kenyans the standards expected.

Ngumi and KPC acting managing director Hudson Adhambi yesterday welcomed public involvement, saying it will give the company an opportunity to put to rest the bad publicity it has received.

“For too long KPC has been the subject of a barrage of negative reporting, much of it inaccurate and or misleading, and much of it focused on historical issues which the Company is tackling with vigour,” the company said in a statement to newsrooms.

“We are open to any inquiries. Ask and we will answer, we are ready to engage anyone who wants to know about KPC,” Ngumi told the Star, even as he referred to some of the parliamentary inquiries as “historic”, dating back over ten years.

“We are being crucified for things that dint happens now. No one sees the good things we are doing,” he posed.

KPC runs a 1,79-kilometre petroleum pipeline between Mombasa, Kisumu, and Eldoret through Nakuru, with its Kisumu and Eldoret depots acting as key supply points for exports into Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern DRC and parts of Tanzania.

The management has termed the inquiry as “a welcome opportunity” for Kenyans to engage with KPC and put forward their views on the company.

“We will definitely benefit from Kenyans’collective wisdom. At the same time the inquiry offers KPC the platform to explain itself, its governance, operations, challenges, and achievements,” Ngumi said.

He said out of the engagement with Kenyans, the true picture of the state of KPC will be painted with a better understanding by KPC, of what Kenyans expect from it, and an appreciation by Kenyans of the environment within which KPC operates.