Kenya Power ex-CEO Ben Chumo to be charged on corruption claims

Then Kenya Power Chief Executive Officer Ben Chumo before the National Assmebly Energy committee on May 7, 2015. /MONICAH MWANGI
Then Kenya Power Chief Executive Officer Ben Chumo before the National Assmebly Energy committee on May 7, 2015. /MONICAH MWANGI

Former Kenya Power

chief executive Ben Chumo and a number of former and current managers will be arraigned in court on Monday to face charges relating to the supply of faulty transformers.

Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji said in a statement that a company called Muwa Trading Company supplied KPLC with faulty transformers.

The company and six others was contracted to supply transformers worth Sh4 billion in 2012 but Muwa’s contract was terminated midway after its transformers registered a high rate of failure and delays in the delivery of the transformers.

KPLC terminated the contract but Muwa went to court where it won a case against KPLC which immediately appealed.

“Investigations have revealed KPLC had cancelled the contract allegedly on the account of poor quality transformers but despite this clear position on the part of KPLC, the suit was compromised at the appellate stage," the DPP said.

“A consent was entered by the parties marking the matter as settled but the details of the deed of settlement which had been negotiated between KPLC and Muwa were not spelt out in the recording therefore keeping the court in the dark as to the terms of consent."

The DPP said both KPLC and Muwa acted in bad faith in failing to disclose contents of the settlement deed.

“As a result the Kenyan tax payer lost sh 310,129,743 and were it not for the intervention of the investigators, payments would have continued unabated for the entire contractual sum of Sh408,192,029,” added the DPP.

He asked Chief Justice David Maraga and the rest of the Judiciary to insist on the recording of full terms of consent with the courts, where public funds and contracts are concerned.

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According to Haji, goods were accepted without inspection upon a waiver which was issued because KPLC felt that it was too costly to have engineers travel to the factory to inspect the transformers.

KPLC also did not inspect the goods once they were delivered which is against procurement rules.

Apart from Chumo, the DPP has ordered the arrest of Chumo’s successor Ken Tarus, who at the time of the procurement the Finance director and Beatrice Meso the current General Manager Corporate Affairs and company Secretary.

Others are;

Mungai Kinuthia, GM, Business Strategy, Joshua Mutua, GM, Commercial Services, Abubakar Swaleh, GM, Human Resource & Administration, Samuel Ndirangu, GM, Information Communications Technology, Stanley Mutwiri, GM, Infrastructure Development, Benson Muriithi, GM, Network Management, Peter Mwicigi, GM, Regional Co-Ordination and John Ombui, GM, Supply Chain

The directors of the firm that supplied the alleged substandard transformers, Muwa Trading Company, have also been ordered arrested and prosecuted.

The three directors are: James Njenga, Grace Wanjira and John Mungai.

Chumo, Meso and Peter Mwicigi were arrested on Saturday morning, according to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Twitter handle.

"They are to be charged with offences of conspiring to commit an offence of economic crime namely fraudulent acquisition of public property, aiding commission of a felony, abuse of office, willful failure to comply with the law relating to procurement among other charges," the Twitter thread reads.

On June 27, President Uhuru Kenyatta nominated Chumo as chairperson of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

Chumo is expected to take over from Sarah Serem whose term ended last December.

The nominee will be vetted on July 23 by the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning at 9 am. He is expected to carry a letter or certificates of clearance and compliance from EACC, KRA, HELB, Criminal Investigations Department and any of the credit reference Bureaus.

He has denied all allegations by the DPP and the DCI.


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