Nine senior executives, including procurement professionals, at Kenya’s state-owned Geothermal Development Company (GDC) have denied charges of failing to comply with procurement laws.
The officials, including the organisation’s managing director Silas Simiyu, all appeared in the anti-corruption court in Nairobi on charges of failing to ensure that GDC’s resources were used efficiently and economically during the award of a 42 million Kenyan shilling (£273,965) tender to Bonfide Clearing and Forwarding for moving onshore oil rigs in Kenya.
Oil drilling in Kenya has so far been limited to onshore activity, although the East African coast is highly prospective for offshore drilling, particularly off the coasts of Tanzania and Mozambique. Tullow Oil announced last month that it has begun exploratory drilling in Kenya.
Simiyu is also accused of abusing the authority of his office "to confer a benefit to Bonfide Clearing and Forwarding", according to the national anti-corruption agency. All nine people have been released on bail. The others to be arrested were company secretary Praxidis Saisi, tender committee members Abraham Saat, Godwin Mwawongo, Nicholas Weke, Caleb Mbaya, Bruno Linyiru and Peter Omenda, and the general manager of drilling operations Michael Mbevi.
Kenya’s Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) also arrested five Kenya Pipeline Company officials including the suspended managing director, and six employees of the National Water Conservation & Pipeline Corporation, also including the managing director. Most of those arrested work in procurement roles, according to the EACC, and were charged with procurement-related corruption.
The east African country’s Office of the Auditor-General published a report earlier this year which found that just one quarter of the money spent and collected by the Kenyan government was properly audited in 2013-2014.
In a recent joint statement on corruption, the EACC stated that “corruption is undermining Kenya’s future”.