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Senior Kenya Power bosses await moment of reckoning

A Nairobi court will this afternoon decided whether to free Kenya Power and Lighting Company senior managers on bond.

Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti will give his ruling at 4pm after hearing arguments from the prosecution and defence team.

The prosecution, led by Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Alexander Muteti, urged the court to remand all the suspects, arguing that they are likely to interfere with witnesses and ongoing investigations.

POWER OUTAGE
The hearing was disrupted briefly in the morning after a power outage hit the building.

The case was adjourned for about 30 minutes until power was restored.

Mr Muteti said the suspects have access to sensitive operational systems at KPLC and might interfere with them if released.

They include former Managing Director Ben Chumo, his successor Dr Ken Tarus, company secretary Beatrice Meso and Mr Peter Mungai.

Others are general managers Joshua Mutua (commercial services), Mr Abubakar Swaleh (resource and administration), Mr Samuel Ndirangu (ICT), Mr Stanley Mutwiri (Infrastructure development), Mr Benson Muriithi (network management), Mr Peter Mwicigi (regional coordination) and head of supply chain Mr John Ombui.

INTERFERE

Mr Muteti further said that the prosecution is likely to prefer more charges on procurement against them, thus releasing them might jeopardise the investigations.

In an affidavit filed by the investigating officer Walter Okelo, the prosecution added that some of the beneficiaries of the tender are still at large and the senior managers might collude with them to defeat the cause of justice.

He further revealed that some KPLC employees – who are witnesses in the cases – have been directly or indirectly contacted through memos or phone calls, pointing to the fact that the accused can interfere with investigations.
TRANSFORMERS

The court heard that their actions led to losses amounting to Sh408 million for procuring substandard transformers.

The charges stated that they conspired to commit an economic crime on diverse dates between August 3, 2013 and June 12, 2018 when they procured transformers worth approximately Sh408,533,221 to a company known as M/s Muwa Trading.

They further denied accusations of abuse of office and failure to comply with procurement laws.

Also in court was Mr James Njenga, a director of the company.

The court further said the KPLC senior managers aided Muwa Trading company to fraudulently acquire Sh202 million, yet the company supplied substandard transformers.

CHARGES DENIED
The 11 KPLC senior managers are alleged to have tried to defeat the cause of justice when they sanctioned a court settlement of case filed by Muwa before the High Court.

It is alleged that the management team tried to settle the case out of court leading to the loss of more than Sh200 million.

Mr Mungai, his co-accused Grace Wanjira and son John Anthony Mungai denied charges of fraudulent acquisition of public funds.

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