Fernandes Barasa is the CEO and MD of Ketraco -Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited, a govt agency mandated to plan, design, construct, own, operate and maintain high voltage electricity transmission grid and regional power interconnectors that will form the backbone of the National Transmission Grid.
Sometime in August 2019, a well-built middle-aged man in a high-end restaurant runs for dear life panting like a chased antelope, he finds his way into the toilets of the restaurant and hides. He was running away from DCI boss George Kinoti who coincidentally came to the hotel.
Mr. Barasa was hiding for all the wrong reasons, or good reason, depending on where you sit in the scheme of the political divide. In 2019, the authorities unearthed a Ksh14 billion scandal at the electricity transmission agency.
Over the years, and with Mr Barasa in charge, Ketraco awarded lucrative contracts to firms that curiously turned out to be insolvent.
Ketraco has been forced to terminate contracts worth Sh25.6 billion awarded to Spanish firms Isolux Corsan, Instalaciones Inabensa, as well as India’s Jyoti Structures.
The above shows, either, how weak the systems of due diligence are at Ketraco, or it is that inglorious Kenyan pass time, corruption. A high grade one.
What Mr Ferandes Barasa does with his free time, and why he run from the DCI boss when he was not being chased ultimately confirms that the second reason to be true.
The wicked run when no one is chasing them, but an honest person is as brave as a lion. – Proverbs 28:1
As a highly trained accountant who once headed the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK), Mr Barasa has used his position to loot Ketraco and build a foundation.
The reason he is running for Governor of Kakamega County in 2022 is that he is guilty of corruption and seeks to do as others do; hide in politics.
That’s what most shady businessmen and heads of parastatals do when they are in the corner. It has been proven time and again that politics shields someone from accountability.
The money trail: Costly mistakes
Auditor General Nancy Gathungu, in her review of Ketraco accounts as of June 2020, flagged the multi-billion projects — now under new contractors.
Ketraco after giving contracts to broke firms which collapse months later goes on to award new firms with fresh contracts that subject taxpayers to extra costs.
For example, Instalaciones Inabensa was awarded a Sh3.6 billion contract for construction of the Lessos-Tororo transmission line. The project cost has risen to Sh8.2 billion.
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The shenanigans have attracted court cases which Ketraco is said to have spent over Sh200 million on. It is a waste of time and taxpayers money.
Jyoti Structures Ltd was contracted to build the Olkaria-Narok, Lessos-Kabarnet, Nanyuki-Rumuruti, Sultan Hamud-Mwingi high voltage transmission lines.
The Sh9.8 billion contract was terminated after the firm was declared insolvent by Indian authorities.
China CAMCE Company was handed over the ‘significant’ works left by Jyoti and the completion date rescheduled to April 2020.
Jyoti Structures was also the contractor for the Sh7.6 billion 220kV Turkwel-Ortum-Kitale substations and the Machakos-Konza-Kajiado-Namanga transmission lines.
The projects stalled for lack of finances after the firm was put into liquidation in July 2018 by an Indian court.
Kenyans also paid a Sh5.7 billion fine after Isolux Corsan failed to build the Loiyangalani-Suswa power transmission line to evacuate power from the Lake Turkana Wind Power.
The contract was handed over to a consortium of Chinese firms – Nari Group Corporation and Power China Guizhou Engineering Company.
Isolux was to build the line by August 2018 but Ketraco terminated the contract after the Spanish firm went into receivership.
The project was later completed in mid-2017 for Sh28 billion, but the line went live in September 2018.
Spain’s Iberdrola Ingenieria also had its Sh10.5 billion contract — Sh4.9 billion at award— terminated for non-performance.
Gathungu, in the review of Ketraco’s accounts for the year ending June 2020, said that failure to complete the works in due time has hindered projects.
The events have raised serious questions on not only the viability of the projects but also the capacity of Ketraco to handle such projects.
This article lends credence to what cnyakundi.com has been saying over the years. Most of these projects remain unfinished.
DCI should get this crook before 2022.
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