Senate probes KQ woes in closed meet

INVESTIGATING CRISIS: Senate Finance Committee members Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu) and Mutahi Kagwe (Nyeri) during a meeting with staff from Kenya Airways in Hotel Intercontinental, Nairobi, yesterday.Photo/Hezron Njoroge
INVESTIGATING CRISIS: Senate Finance Committee members Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu) and Mutahi Kagwe (Nyeri) during a meeting with staff from Kenya Airways in Hotel Intercontinental, Nairobi, yesterday.Photo/Hezron Njoroge

THE Senate yesterday began its probe behind closed doors into the financial crisis of national carrier Kenya Airways.

The Senate Select Committee chaired by Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu) is conducting a wide-ranging investigation into all financial and management activities of KQ.

“The matter is of great concern to all Kenyans and the committee will do its best to rescue the airline,” Nyong’o said after the hearing at Hotel Intercontinental, Nairobi.

He said the session was closed “to allow KQ staff to submit crucial information”.

“This was our first hearing and therefore we cannot make any conclusive remarks. We need to listen to other parties.”

The committee is investigating the leasing and buying of aircraft since 1996 and the role of offshore companies in the airline’s investment.

The team will receive submissions from the public on July 21 and 22 at Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

It will try to identify shareholders of the offshore companies and their level of engagement with KQ management.

The committee will consider employment policies and practices, including hiring of engineers, pilots, cabin crew and ground personnel.

It will explore the reasons for delayed and cancelled flights and the resulting losses.

In late May, the airline received a Sh4.2 billion loan from the government.

The Senate formed the nine-member committee to probe KQ and its subsidiaries, following concerns it was being mismanaged.

In May, Nyong’o told the Senate the national carrier has been experiencing delays and cancellation of flights, which worsen the company’s debt burden.

Other committee members are Mutahi Kagwe of Nyeri, Bonny Khalwale of Kakamega, Peter Mositet of Kajiado, Billow Kerrow of Mandera, James Orengo of Siaya, Wilfred Lesan of Bomet and nominated senators Agnes Zani and Naisula Lesuuda.

Questions were raised over the decision to meet in a hotel instead of available committee rooms in Parliament.