Inside Politics

Kenya Power board put on the spot over ‘micro-management’

Friday, September 17th, 2021 00:00 |

The tiff between the management and Kenya Power (KPLC) board played out during a Parliamentary committee sitting yesterday with legislators alleging the board was micro-managing operations at the utility outfit.

Gem legislator Elisha Ochieng alleged the board’s interference in the daily operations at the electricity distributor, to the extent it had started stalling some projects.

“Kenya Power cannot even procure bolts…this management interference, even I don’t know, the acting managing director must be under a lot of pressure. If that is what they are doing, I wonder how they are working, or even if other managers are working,” he said.

Hounded out of office

The committee claimed it is such a stance which had led to immediate former managing director and chief executive, Bernard Ngugi being hounded out of office.

Ngugi tendered his resignation because of alleged procurement differences with the Vivienne Yeda-led board that took office in November, 2020.

The new board is said to have taken a key role in the daily running of the company, including red-flagging the procurement department and dropping management’s strategy, to increase tariff rates officials believed would lift the company from financial doldrums.

National Assembly’s Energy Committee chaired by David Gikaria also took issue with KPLC’s board for dragging their feet when summoned to brainstorm on how to reduce the high cost of electricity.

“When the Rural Electrifica- tion and Renewable Energy Corporation (Rerec) has a con- tract of 500,000 customers and we see a contract of meters being cancelled. It becomes an issue,” said Gikaria.

At yesterday’s seating, only three of the eight direc- tors were physically present, prompting Gikaria to post- pone the meeting to a later date.

KPLC share price gains

In the last financial year, the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) listed firm was given a budget of Sh89 billion in what Gikaria said was a recognition of its key role in the delivery of the Vision 2030 agenda, and as a backbone of Kenya’s energy sector.

The Nairobi Stocks Exchange listed firm transacted 3.97 million shares, closing the day with a volume weighted average share price of Sh1.70 per share, recording a gain over its previous closing price of Sh1.60 amid the ongoing public inquiries.

The board has recently been on the spotlight with both the Ethics and Ant- corruption Commission (EACC), as well as the Kenya Electrical Traders and Allied Workers Union (Ketawu) rais- ing concerns over tendering processes at the firm.

Kenya Electrical Traders and Allied Workers Union (Ket- awu) also accused the board for micromanaging the company and ignoring the plight of its workers from executing their roles.

“The current board, though vigilant, has gone into micro management and frustrated all internally generated ideas in favor of non-actors in the sector. As a union we are tired and we will not relent until they have gone home,” said Ketawu General Secretary Ernest Nadome.

Nadome said that the board has hampered the operations of the company by supervising issues to do with procurement and warehousing with intent to award specific tenderpreneurs.

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