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Why Kenya Power Has Been ‘Taken Over’ By Government

by Yahil Felix

The struggling Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) is now a special project for the government.

The government on Thursday decided to take over the company in a bid to deal with the mess that is choking the energy giant; by ordering detectives to uncover the mess in the parastatal.

The mismanagement affecting the national power supplier threatens to affect the fundamental sectors of the economy as electricity prices in Kenya becomes on of the highest in the world.

The government’s intervention seeks to save the company from the brink of bankruptcy and see all its operations from recruitment, management to procurement come under close watch.

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This decision came shortly after a three-hour crisis meeting chaired by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, led by Kenya Power board Vivienne Yeda and acting Kenya Power acting managing director Rosemary Oduor.

Others are Energy Principal Secretary Gordon Kihalangwa, his Treasury counterpart Julius Muia and Anne Erickson a member of the presidential taskforce on the Review of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).

Dr. Matiang’i ordered a forensic audit to unearth financial dealings that are similar to fraud and sabotage.

Given the task is a multi agency team comprising of detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Financial Reporting Agency, Asset Recovery Agency and others.

This investigation comes after allegations that some workers are colluding with large electricity consumers to either lower or evade paying electricity bills.

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The team will also investigate power purchase agreements that have punished consumers to expensive electricity bills, notorious multi-billion shillings tenders, inside trading, conflict of interests by top management of the company and other illegal dealings by its workers.

This comes several weeks after President Uhuru Kenyatta created a taskforce to investigate and bring recommendations that would see reduction in the cost of electricity. The government ordered the company to reduce the bills by 33 percent within four months.

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