The Business Daily report, Thursday, of an apparent ‘anxiety as Kenya Power staff lifestyle audit starts’ is a welcome development and one that must be supported by the public.
But it should be extended to former staff, too. That way, people will understand that it is not enough to loot and walk away with public resources – which combine to push up high power prices.
The systemic fraud in the utility company has seen many middle level and top managers live large – tens of properties in nearly every major town, several high-end fuel guzzlers and fat bank accounts.
A number of staff have formed proxy companies, through their friends and or kin, to supply goods and services to Kenya Power.
They will influence lucrative tenders and pricing of the same since the proceeds will always line up their pockets.
Such culture is deep. It cannot be eradicated easily. But a transparent and accountable lifestyle audit – in broad daylight – will show severe and even fatal correlation with salaries.
It is for instance painstaking for a manager with a net of Sh500,000 to Sh800,000 per month owning a fleet of top-end vehicles like Range Rover Vogue (costing an average Sh17mn) and or Prado (costing an average Sh12mn) plus several properties, and especially land, in many places.
An inter-agency audit including but not limited to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Asset Recovery Authority will make a major difference.
Local pProvincial administration leadership especially chiefs and provision of anonymous reporting system for the public to report what they know what Kenya Power managers own (directly and indirectly) will also go a long way.
The energy sector must do everything it takes to heavily punish those involved in fraud.
Only then will the cost of power be sustained at lower rates and equally push down the cost of production.
It is even incredible that the staff union fully support the lifestyle audit and called for everyone to be open to scrutiny.