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Trial of Kenya Power top bosses over faulty gadgets scam begins




Kenya Power MD Kenneth Tarus (left) and former managing director Ben Chumo at the Milimani Law Court on July 17, 2018. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG   

The trial of 14 people among them former Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC managing director Ken Tarus and his predecessor Ben Chumo started Monday with the prosecution stating that it will line up 45 witnesses to show how the accused plotted to defraud the firm.

In the opening statement, before Senior Principal Magistrate Felix Kombo, Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Alexander Muteti said all the accused acted with the common intention of defrauding Kenya Power but later tried to “cover the tracks” including filing a civil suit, which the firm ended up paying for.

Mr Muteti said a contract between Kenya Power and Muwa Trading Company Limited was in breach of the law withthe firm ending up with faulty transformers, which were later kept lying at its yard for more than a year yet payments had been made.

He said that in the procurement, the former Kenya Power management team flouted the law on procurement and should be individually and jointly held to account.

Defence lawyers objected the statement.

Dr Chumo and other top officials at Kenya Power are accused of entering into a contract with a private firm for the supply of transformers worth Sh408 million which turned out to be faulty.

Prosecutors said the deal also flouted procurement rules for government entities.

Three of Muwa Trading Company’s directors were also charged.

Mr Muteti said the contract was signed on August 3, 2012 but it was terminated on May 5, 2015 for alleged breach of terms on the part of the company.

The document said upon delivery of the transformers, the acceptance committee rejected some of the transformers because they were faulty.

The faulty transformers were later accepted.

According to the prosecution, some 327 transformers supplied by Muwa were found to be faulty and had to be repaired and that Kenya Power did not benefit from a warranty despite the massive failure.

Upon cancellation of the tender Muwa sued Kenya Power but the suit, according to the prosecution, was compromised at the appeals stage prompting settlement of the matter out of court.