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Energy Regulator Macharia Irungu to be Named New Kenya Pipeline Boss

GBR Team 29/11/2019

Total Kenya’s Director of Strategy Dr. Macharia Irungu, 53, is to be named the new Kenya Pipeline Corporation chief executive, sources indicate.

If confirmed, Irungu who also doubles up as a Commissioner on the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), would take over from Hudson Andambi who has been acting MD since December 2018.

Andambi was seconded to KPC from the Ministry of Petroleum by Cabinet Secretary John Munyes after the previous MD, Joel Sang, and six top managers were arrested over graft allegations.

Irungu’s biography on the Total Kenya website adds that he is also the CEO of Gulf Africa Power Company (GAPCO) as well as CEO of the road-safety NGO Safe Way.

He has recently been in the news after the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) filed a case challenging his suitability to sit on the board of the industry regulator as an industry player. /Cofek cites conflict of interest.

The announcement is expected to be made later today.

KPC reported full-year pre-tax profits of Sh5.2billion down at the end of June 2019 down from Sh12bn the previous year as finance costs linked to its 450-km Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline ate into its earnings.

The cash-rich KPC has been in the news for high-level graft charges ranging from unexplained loss of fuel in its custody to inflated mega-tenders for construction of its Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline.

If he takes the job, he will try to break a CEO curse at the firm whose chief executives over the last 20 years have all faced charges of massive corruption, conflicts of interests, nepotism and mismanagement.

Ex-Md Joel Sang is accused with others in the loss of over 11million litres of fuel through iregular procurement and alleged pilferage.

His predecessor Charles Tanui with others has been in court facing charges of conspiracy to defraud KPC of over Sh660m in a tender with an overseas company.

Selest Kilinda who had been promoted from within the company to be MD was before that shown the door after an audit found he was culpable for employing his brother and two relatives in the company.

Prior to that, former MD George Okungu was fired in 2010 over charges of fraud. Okungu, who also reigned during the infamous Triton scandal was cleared four years later of criminal charges in the Sh68-million housing fraud case.

His predecessor Shem Ochuodho similarly faced charges of conspiring to defraud the company of over Sh800m but was eventually cleared of the charges.

His predecessor Ezekiel Komen also saw graft charges brought against him in 2010 for crimes allegedly committed in 1999 to defraud money from KPC.

And finally, Linus Cheruiyot, the first ex-MD of Kenya Pipeline to face graft charges over a Sh339m computerization project, promptly fled to the US after posting bond and has never returned.