Kenya Power And Lighting Company (KPLC) best exemplifies why monopoly should not be condoned in a country like ours. KPLC cavalier treatment of its clients, lack of transparency in its billing system are just some of the oft repeated complaints directed to a company run like a matatu (public service vehicle).
Matatus in Kenya have a notoriety of charging fares depending on the mood of the driver and his conductor (and they are equally rude)-just like Kenya Power staff. Your fare can double-or be tripled-if it rains. This matatu that is Kenya Power has a history fraught with controversy-the most recent being the inflated bills sent to customers to recover Kes 10.1 billion incurred on ‘diesel generation’. Apollo Mboya and the Electricity Consumers Society successfully filed a class action suit against Kenya Power. The High Court barred KPLC from sending the exaggerated bills to recover a further Kes8.1 billion.
Kenya Power has been a den of corruption where millions have been siphoned to offshore accounts. While this open greed took place, services have consistently remained at best mediocre.
Findings of a probe constituted by the then Energy Minister Ochillo Ayako and chaired by former Limuru MP George Nyanja revealed the rot at KPLC. The Nyanja investigations demonstrated how the former Kenya Power boss Mr Samuel Gichuru abused his office for the two decades he was at the helm.
The damning report tabled in parliament in December 2003, gave a blow by blow account of how Kenya Power created artificial power shortage to gave leeway to two companies (Westmont of Malaysia and Iberafrica of spain) to supply power generators via diesel barges at a cost four times the market price. Nyanja investigations found out KPLC had transferred millions of shillings to offshore accounts. The committee recommended the prosecution and seizure of Gichuru’s property. This never came to pass.
Gichuru was adversely mentioned in a money laundering scandal involving just over one billion. The former KPLC CEO and the then former Energy Minister Chris Okemo were charged with 53 counts linked to bribes they received from foreign companies to win Kenya Power tenders. A company associated with Gichuru, Winward Trading Company, admitted in Royal Court in Jersey to having received bribes from 11 firms angling for contracts in Kenya. Kes10.1 billion was found hidden in an offshore account. According to court papers, Okemo was a beneficiary of the bribes paid to Gichuru.
Former Attorney General Githu Muigai had earlier this year promised to restart extradition of Okemo and billionaire Gichuru to Island of Jersey as per the orders of the Court of Appeal. Just like his predecessor, he left office without accomplishing what he had termed “his last deed in office”.
So who are the shareholders of Kenya Power?
This is as of 31 August 2015
1 Ministry of Finance 50.09
2 Standard Chartered Nominees Limited 20.61
3 KCB Nominees Limited 5.72
4 CFC Stanbic Nominees Limited 2.97
5 NIC Custodial Services Limited 2.35
6 Equity Nominees Limited 1.32
7 Co-op Custody 1.13
8 Jubilee Insurance Company Limited 1.04
9 UAP Life Association Unitlink Fund 0.53
10 Old Mutual Life Assurance Company Limited 0.53
11 ICEA Lion Life Assurance Limited 0.49
12 Kenindia Assurance Company Limitedd 5.72
13 Alimohamed Adam 0.26
14 Kenya Reinsurance Corporation Limited 0.26
15 Phoenix of East Africa Assurance Company Limited 0.17
16 Natbank Trustee & Investment Services Limited 0.13
17 Savitaben Velji Raichand Shah 0.12
18 Dhimantlal Samji Shah 0.12
19 Kyalo Mwangulu Kilele 0.12
20 APA Insurance Limited 0.12
21 Other Shareholders 11.57
Some of these companies may have sold or bought more shares in KPLC.
Billionaire businessman Chris Kirubi was the largest individual shareholder in 2012. Glossy described by Forbes contributor Mfonobong Nsehe as “a shrewd property developer and investor”, Kirubi shares had 15.6 million shares worth kes266.8 million which was an equivalent of 0.799 stake of the company.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s mother, Mama Ngina, was listed the fourth largest investor in 2013. Ngina owns 0.11 percent stake at KPLC which translates to 2.2 million shares. Her stake at the company is valued at Kes37.7 million. The president’s mother miniscule stake at Kenya power leaves her with very little say in making strategic decisions for the company. She cannot even vote.