Court suspends Joe Sang’s appointment as Kenya Pipeline MD
The Employment and Labour Relations Court has suspended the appointment of Joe Kimutai Sang as acting Managing Director of the Kenya Pipeline Company.
The order issued by Judge James Rika followed a petition filed by the Law Society of Kenya challenging Mr Sang’s suitability to hold the office and the board’s decision to reinstate him.
Pending the determination of the application, the court allowed the board to appoint an acting MD from amongst the current pool of employees holding substantive management positions.
The judge also directed the LSK to furnish the Cabinet Secretary, Energy and Petroleum, the Attorney-General, the Public Service Commission and Mr Sang with the court papers within 21 days so that they can file their responses. He directed that the case be mentioned on March 10, 2023, for further directions.
KPC’s board reinstated Mr Sang as the Managing Director in an acting capacity on January 23, a month after he was acquitted of a corruption case involving Sh1.9 billion.
The corruption scandal related to the implementation of the Kisumu Oil Jetty project. Mr Sang left office in December 2018, after a court trial.
At the time of his exit, he had not completed the three-year term of office having been appointed towards the end of April 2016.
The anti-corruption court found that the project was well planned and no public funds were lost.
Magistrate Victor Wakumile dismissed the case filed by the State against Mr Sang and five top ex-managers.
They are the company secretary Gloria Khafafa, head of procurement Vincent Cheruiyot, Nicholas Gitobu (General Manager Finance), Samuel Odonyo (procurement manager) and Billy Letuya Aseka (General Manager Infrastructure).
There was no evidence to support the criminal charges of abuse of office, engaging in a project without prior planning and wilful failure to comply with applicable guidelines relating to the management of public funds.
The court found that the procurement was not flawed as alleged by the prosecution and that the project was undertaken within the planned financial budget.
The court case sprung from the construction of the pipeline at a cost of Sh1,963,065,422 and the award of the contract to Southern Engineering Company Ltd. Investigators had claimed that there was corruption and loss of funds during the construction of the pipeline.
The project was aimed at improving the reliability of fuel supply to the export market of Uganda, Rwanda and the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and to facilitate safe transportation of oil for various marketers over Lake Victoria to the neighbouring countries. It was also aimed at removing hundreds of trucks from the roads.
Mr Wakumile said Mr Sang and the former managers arraigned in court delivered the project. He said witnesses adduced in court by the prosecution were consistent that there were no malpractices or irregularities.