The vacant post of Kenya Airports Authority managing director has attracted a lot of intense lobbying from external forces out to control operations at the state corporation.
The post fell vacant after Lucy Mbugua the then managing director was sent home together with other officials over a bus hiring scandal. The acting MD is Yatich Kangogo, the long serving Mombasa Moi International Airport manager.
Kangogo, however, is not in the mathematics of the entrenched cartels at the parastatal that have their own list of individuals they are canvassing for to take over the post. Associates say Kangogo is a strict manager who is averse to underhand deals.
Before Mbugua was sent home for the second and apparently final time, a scheme had been hatched by cartels coalescing around powerful individuals to have her suspension lifted without subjecting her to investigations.
Sources at KAA said immediately Mbugua was sent on compulsory leave, pending investigations into controversial duty free shops tender, a cartel of businessmen who control tenders at the parastatal swang into action to insulate her against any action that could culminate into her eventual removal from the helm of KAA.
Among those mentioned in the campaign then to have Mbugua spared the embarrassment of being subjected to grilling sessions by anti- graft agencies over irregular award of tenders at the parastatal was a Nairobi tycoon.
At the time, it was argued that if serious investigations were undertaken, it would open a can of worms over the deep mess that are KAA tenders are. Indeed, the cartels had already had their way and Mbugua had been cleared only for the second scam of hiring apron buses to hit her below the belt. It is said, her removal only succeeded following the direct involvement of Uhuru Kenyatta.
Among many other deals during Mbugua’s tenure included an alleged error of omission of a whopping Sh9 billion being the 16pc VAT which was discovered by the ministry of Transport last year when KAA officials forwarded documents pertaining to Greenfield project contract for approval.
Had the ministry technocrats not been keen, KAA would have lost the billions which apparently were destined into people’s pockets.
It is claimed tenders in KAA were pre-determined even before they were advertised. The advertisement was a mere formality, it is pointed out. A Nairobi tycoon, it is claimed, was the local agent of all the companies that won huge tenders at KAA.
“All companies that were to compete with companies where the tycoon has an interest, their bid documents were interfered with,” a source at KAA pointed out adding that tenders at KAA were won many months before they were advertised.
Some top KAA managers who a few years ago were surviving on loans from banks were now millionaires owning homes and properties in leafy suburbs of the city. Mbugua allegedly owns a home estimated to be worth Sh200 million at Kitisuru.
Mbugua’s tenure at the authority also saw airlines complain of poor service. Safety standards had been compromised. At some point, aeroplanes destined to JKIA were diverted to Moi International Airport Mombasa over safety issues.
It is said on being appointed, Kangogo embarked on frustrating the cartels and putting things straight in the parastatal, something that has not gone down well with the influential Nairobi tycoon who has vowed to see him kicked out from the position.
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