Cartels must be stopped from their attempt to influence probe outcomes at KPA

The board of KPA should not yield to the blackmail and not even the Cabinet Secretary or even President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose remarks have been interpreted to mean he was directed at Manduku, should throw a performer like Manduku under the bus on premise of this attempt by cartels

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PHOTO/COURTESY

Last week, Treasury received a boost of KSh34 billion disbursed to the Consolidated Fund as a special dividend from different parastatals, including Kenya Pipeline and Kenya Ports Authority.

In unprecedented history, KPA paid the highest amount of the cash disbursed at KSh18.7 billion accounting for 53% of the total bail-out to a Treasury that is struggling to meet its financial obligations including local and external debt.

The colossal sum of KSh18.7 billion from a state agency whose Managing Director and management have been lately the victims of adverse publicity is something that must not escape any Kenyan’s mind.

Dr (Arch) Daniel Manduku is a man who deserves greater credit for how he has turned around the port’s fortunes within 17 short months and must be insulated from the vicious war waged against him by tenderpreneurship cartels who are bitter with how he has sealed the loopholes through which corruption thrived at KPA.

Fake charge sheet

We dare say that under previous regimes, this dividend would either been impossible to disburse or would have been at the same level as KPC’s KSh5 billion or thereabout.

It is a shame that cartels are fighting Dr Manduku and are as shameless as using their collaborators within the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to circulate fake charge sheets in their attempt to sway public opinion and witnesses into a false narrative that the management of KPA were soon to be subjects of the “kamata kamata Friday”.

We are reliably informed from a high-ranking source at the DCI that the purported charge sheet which was circulated last week was not legitimate “because investigations had not been concluded”.

“This was an attempt by those fighting KPA managers to influence the expert witnesses who were due to appear before our investigators on Friday last week,” the source told us, adding “there has been attempts by DCI officers to extort money from those under investigations”.

Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director Daniel Manduku has been at the helm of the authority for 17 months, seven of which he was in acting capacity. He has overseen a huge transformation of the operations that have ed to high profitability for the state agency. PHOTO/COURTESY

Manduku has been on record saying government investigators have been at the port since July in what he described as routine government procedures, urging all staff and management to cooperate with investigators.

In his capacity as MD, Manduku has honored summons to the different agencies and submitted documents as requested and it is therefore preposterous of any individual to try put the cart before the horse as far as conclusion of the probe is concerned.

Cancelled tenders

This country must protect those whose commitment to deliver on their mandate bears the results the country has witnessed at KPA since Manduku took over. This is a man who has instituted policy changes at the port leading to enhanced efficiency, faster cargo evacuation and put the organisation on a profitability path.

Media reports have suggested cancelled tenders worth at least KSh20 billion since Manduku took over are the premise of the vicious fight to have him ousted. Among the tenders cancelled for non-priority reasons include construction of KPA Tower (KSh7.8B), purchase of land at Nairobi Inland Container Depot (KSh3B) and the purchase of boats (KSh2.5B), among other lucrative tenders.

The Tower tender suffered the fate of a directive by government that all tenders above KSh5 billion must get the approval of Cabinet and was therefore cancelled after it was flagged as non-priority.

The fake charge sheet circulation and propagation of the narrative that the Makongeni land which was gazettes as a port area is the subject of siblings rivalry between KPA and sister parastatal – Kenya Railways, is evidence that cartels are behind the adverse publicity against KPA.

These unscrupulous individuals who want to siphon public and loot taxpayers coffers must not be allowed to have their way in this vicious fight against Dr Manduku and fellow managers at KPA.

It is these cartels calling out alleged corruption at the port as a way of getting out Manduku because they feel he is the stumbling block to what they were used to doing – loot.

There is word doing rounds that they even have attempted to push a name (to Cabinet Secretary James Macharia) of someone they want to see at KPA if they succeed to oust Dr Manduku.

The board of KPA should not yield to the blackmail and not even the Cabinet Secretary or even President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose remarks have been interpreted to mean he was directed at Manduku, should throw a performer like Manduku under the bus on premise of this attempt by cartels.

Cartels must never be allowed to use their greed to victimize hardworking public servants in the name of fighting corruption.

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