The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has questioned Kakamega County Governor Fernandes Barasa about his involvement with Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO), which resulted in the loss of Ksh.18 billion in penalties related to the construction of a power line in Turkana.
The probe follows the public investment committee’s recommendations, which call for those engaged in the trades to be held accountable for the losses.
Barasa spent the majority of Monday being questioned by EACC detectives at Integrity House in an effort to determine what part KETRACO played in the contract that ultimately cost taxpayers billions of dollars to complete in a project that was supposed to increase Kenya’s power supply and reduce energy costs.
The largest wind farm in Africa, Lake Turkana, was supposed to add a new 400kv power substation close to Loyangalani, and KETRACO was supposed to build the transmission interconnector to transfer the power from the facility to the national grid.
The recently elected Kakamega Governor is currently being questioned by EACC investigators about the procedure for issuing the tender for that bid and the subsequent execution of that contract.
The anti-graft authority should look into how KETRACO managed the contract for the construction of the transmission interconnector, according to a recommendation made in a report by the public investment committee in June of this year.
It also demands an investigation into KETRACO’s failure to get way permits and the signing of contract addenda, which caused a delay in the line’s completion and exposed Kenyan taxpayers to Deemed Generated Energy worth Ksh. 18.49 billion and increased energy costs.
The investigation also reveals that KETRACO hired the Spanish business Isolux to build the line in 24 months, with severe penalties for failure to complete the project by the deadline. However, the business encountered problems, which led to the three extensions and, ultimately, the cancellation of the contract after Isolux filed for bankruptcy.
To finish the project, Ketraco ultimately hired PowerChina Engineering and Nari Group Cooperation. But the taxpayer paid a steep price for that 32-month wait.
The public investment committee also wants the accounting officers at the Ministry of Energy to be held accountable for failing to conduct an independent legal risk assessment prior to the execution of the contracts for a capital-intensive project like the one in question. This is in addition to KETRACO’s management.
Joseph Njoroge, the former Energy Principal Secretary and PS in the case, has previously been interrogated.