John contracts company X to build him a house worth Sh40, 000. When the construction is done, a naughty boy from a neighboring village vandalizes it four times, forcing John to call in same construction company to repair the house for Sh39,000.
This is exactly what Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO), a firm at the heart of the new Sh6.3 billion scandal did to ‘protect’ the high voltage 220kV underground cable.
In paid advertisements in local dailies yesterday, the power transmission company said that it paid SIEMENS France Sh944 million to repair the vandalized underground cable which the same contractor had erected for Sh1.1 billion. The cost of repair is a whopping Sh85.8 per cent of initial cost.
Responding to the graft allegation in what it termed as ‘setting the record straight’, the company explained that the initial cost of the cable was €9.569 million (Sh1.1 billion which was awarded to SIEMENS France IN 2010. The high voltage 220 kV underground cable was completed and energized on September 26, 2016.
‘’The cable subsequently suffered four major acts of vandalism inside the Nairobi National Park. The total cost of the repairs after energization was €8.1 million (Sh944 million) which was undertaken by the same contractor,’’ said KETRACO.
Although the firm secured advertisement spaces with intention of exonerating itself from corruption allegations as captured in four internal audits, the explanation on amount spent on repair work begs more questions than answers.
Kenyans on twitter could not understand how a person/s can enter a guarded park and vandalize a high voltage power cable four times without being spotted. They also picked issue with the high repair cost.
‘’Vandalism of high voltage power cables inside national park… four times? That led to cost of repair almost equaling the original acquisition cost? This is more of an admission rather than a bonafide defense,’’ said Mohamed Welhye, a renowned financial advisor.
‘’Is this a case where a contractor sends their own people to vandalize the cables so that they can charge to buy new ones? Who steals cables when energized? You have to put off power first,’’ said Tony Waweru on twitter.
In a nine point clarification in local dailies, the power transmitter dismissed scam allegations that appeared in a section of media over weekend, asking the public to ignore leaked internal audit reports doing rounds on social media.
The firm had not responded to our queries based on the media statement by the time of going to press.