Kenya pipe­line firm CEO held over loss of funds

Gulf Times - - AFRICA -

Kenya has ap­pointed an act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive to the state pipe­line com­pany KPC af­ter five of its se­nior ex­ec­u­tives, in­clud­ing the CEO, were ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the loss of funds at the firm, the lat­est move to crack down on cor­rup­tion.

Dozens of Kenyan gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and busi­ness peo­ple have ap­peared in court since May on charges re­lat­ing to the al­leged theft of hun­dreds of mil­lions of shillings from pub­lic cof­fers in a new drive to tackle wide­spread graft.

Hud­son An­dambi, an of­fi­cial at the min­istry of petroleum has been picked as act­ing CEO of KPC, the min­istry said, say­ing the move was due to “un­fold­ing events at the Kenya Pipe­line Com­pany and the ar­rest of the top man­age­ment.”

“This is to en­sure that op­er­a­tions con­tinue with­out in­ter­fer­ence for pur­poses of en­sur­ing se­cu­rity of sup­ply of petroleum prod­ucts,” the min­istry said in a state­ment.

Joe Sang, the MD of KPC, was ar­rested with four other se­nior of­fi­cials in con­nec­tion with the loss of an un­spec­i­fied amount of money dur­ing the con­struc­tion of an oil jetty in the west­ern city of Kisumu, the Daily Na­tion re­ported on its web­site.

Po­lice were not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment. Sang did not an­swer calls to his mo­bile phone from Reuters.

In a state­ment the di­rec­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions No­ordin Haji said there was “suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to sup­port var­i­ous charges” against six sus­pects re­lated to the oil jetty project which cost 2bn shillings ($19.55mn).

He listed the charges as abuse of of­fice, fail­ure to com­ply with pro­ce­dures and ex­e­cut­ing a project with­out prior plan­ning.

Ear­lier yes­ter­day he had told a lo­cal TV sta­tion he had au­tho­rised the ar­rest of the sus­pects that: “we shall ar­raign them in court on Mon­day,” he told NTV.

Sang, who has been in his post since early 2016, wrote to KPC’s board ear­lier this week say­ing he would not seek an ex­ten­sion of his con­tract on its ex­pi­ra­tion next April. He cited un­spec­i­fied per­sonal rea­sons for his de­ci­sion.

KPC’s board said on Tues­day it had de­cided to al­low oil mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies to carry out a foren­sic au­dit of their fuel stocks af­ter they com­plained about ex­ces­sive losses.

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta promised to stamp out graft when he was first elected in 2013, but crit­ics say he has been slow to pur­sue top of­fi­cials. No high pro­file con­vic­tions have oc­curred since he took of­fice.

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