Rebecca Miano- Meet the CS behind the recent power blackout, financial irregularities at Kengen

Rebecca Miano– Investments, Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano has been accused of procurement and financial irregularities during her tenure as the CEO of the Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (Kengen).

In an ouster petition filed at the High Court, a lobby group has accused the CS of spending Ksh94 billion of taxpayers’ money on white elephant power generation projects.

She is further accused of contributing to recent frequent national blackouts by commissioning unusable high voltage transmission lines and commissioning feasibility studies on two new power plants that never worked.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has also been cited as an interested party in the case whose mention is slated for January 29, 2024 before Justice Lawrence Mugambi.

“There was illegal, unlawful and irregular misuse of taxpayers’ money a fact that was confirmed by the Auditor General in her reports for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022,” says an affidavit by Francis Awino filed in support of the suit.

According to Awino, CS Rebecca Miano is also the reason why Kenyans are suffering with huge power bills and blackouts because huge losses were reported due to funds wastage and on incomplete projects.

The CS is also accused of flouting procurement rules by spending Ksh645 million on feasibility studies for new power production plants that have never been constructed to date.

According to court documents, this includes Ksh592 million spent on a feasibility study for the construction of the Meru Wind Power plant and Ksh82 million for the Karura Hydro Power plant.

Rebecca Miano- Meet the CS behind the recent power blackout, financial irregularities at Kengen
Meet the CS behind the recent power blackout, accused of financial irregularities at Kengen

CS Rebecca Miano was moved from the East African Community, ASALS, and Regional Development ministry in October 2023 to the current Trade Ministry in the last Cabinet reshuffle by President William Ruto.

While appearing before the National Assembly’s Energy Committee on December 21, 2023, Energy Cabinet Secretary Davies Chirchir blamed the incessant nationwide blackouts on network overloads due to years of lack of investment in the country’s power generation and transmission capacity.

However, according to the petition filed before Justice Mugambi, Kengen spent Ksh79,324,783,562 on drilling geothermal wells between the year 2011 and 2015, but were never connected to the national grid.

The wells were financed through a loan from the Export-Import Bank of China, according to the court documents.

Despite the wells remaining idle, taxpayers continue to pay the principal sum and interest of the loans while at the same time paying through the nose for electricity procured from thermal Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

“No corresponding revenue had been realized to date and the Respondent did not give the details of when the wells are likely to be utilized in generation of power. As a result, there was no value for money obtained on the investment of Sh79,324,783,562 on drilling wells,” states the petition.

The petitioner also accuses CS Rebecca Miano of allowing power transmission lines constructed by Kengen for Ksh4 billion in 2009 to be used by another company to generate revenue while committing taxpayers to service a loan used for their construction.

Also listed is the alleged irregular contract award for the construction of Hydro Plaza.

“Further, a review of procurement records revealed the works were initially awarded at a cost of Sh150,005,216 but the contract was terminated on nonperformance and subsequently awarded to another contractor at a contract sum of Sh261,264,205, an increase of or 74 percent of the earlier contract sum,” says the petition.

The case is expected to be mentioned before Justice Lawrence Mugambi on January 29, 2024 at the Milimani Law Courts.

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