I was scrolling through the timeline on Twitter, then noticed something.
A picture announcing the launch of a Gubernatorial candidate for Kakamega County.
The first thought that came to my mind was how Fernandes Barasa, a known criminal, a thief, the looter of Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited (Ketraco) had duped the electorates in the county to emerge as a favourite to replace the hardworking Wycliffe Oparanya.
The excessive public relations exercise, the foundation under his name and the holding of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party by the balls through bribery has made it possible that a man who doesn’t care about the law, a fugitive from the law is within months of leading Kenya’s most populous counties.
There’s no other name that best describes Fernandes Barasa.
In 2019, Mr Barasa who was by then very wealthy, having looted Ketraco, run away from DCI Boss George Kinoti who was visiting a hotel Mr Barasa was in at the time. Mr Barasa thought the DCI boss was on his case.
Fernandes Barasa’s flight has everything to do with a guilty man. The guilty Kakamega governor aspirant hid in a toilet.
KInoti was there for a different business.
But the truth was that in that cold February 2019, DCI Boss Kinoti confirmed that indeed the police intelligence body was investigating various transactions involving the Mombasa-Nairobi line that Ketraco had built.
An internal audit, by Ketraco, on the project indicated that the Tsavo-Embakasi phase was delayed by four years and six months and that these delays had “a huge cost impact to Ketraco as the contractors claimed their overheads, idling equipment and manpower, stoppages, acceleration, mobilisation and demobilisation”.
To worse matters, the supply lines and sub-stations were vandalised even before they were completed, and the internal audit found that a transmission line with an installed capacity of 950MW was only evacuating 20MW, a two-per-cent capacity.
Sh14.2 billion was misappropriated in the above project.
To hide the loot, Barasa runs a foundation in Kakamega. Below is how a resident thought of the whole thing
“Fernandes barasa ni number Ceo sahizi Kenya mzima. Ako na barasa foundation inachapa miradi nyumbani. Amenunulia vijana over 500 pikipikis ili wapate mapato yao kila siku. Ametengenezea waathiriwa wa floods nyumba juzi e.t.c Tafuta barasa foundation kwa fb uone maneno yake”, a Kakamega resident, Jeremy Wanguche.
A second scandal involved Ketraco under Fernandes Barasa signing a a contract worth $240M (Sh24 billion) with China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company Limited (CET) to electrify the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
The promise was that in 28 months, the works would be complete.
Ketraco wrote: The project involves the construction of 14 substations between Mombasa and Nairobi. The main purpose of this venture is to ensure that when the SGR switches to clean energy power source, the supply will be reliable and sufficient for not only the train but other facilities along the Mombasa-Nairobi economic belt including train stations, planned industries, factories and businesses near the railway. This will create more major power customers and consumers and bring other opportunities to the locals. The design of the SGR railway, initially run by diesel-powered locomotives, allows for the addition of a single electric line that will be connected to KETRACO’s 482km 400kV Mombasa-Nairobi Transmission Line (MNTL) that was energized by President Uhuru Kenyatta on the 4th of August, 2017. MNTL, the longest and highest voltage transmission infrastructure in East Africa, has a transfer capacity of 1,500MW which is 200MW shy of the current national demand of 1,700MW. The line was constructed to address the challenges of low voltages, high transmission losses, unreliable supply including strengthening of network security and the national grid system. Its energization therefore debunks as flawed the myth that Kenya does not have a dependable source of electricity, most importantly one that can power the electric train network.
However, four years down the line, the work of electrifying the SGR is a pipe dream.
Kakamega county is about to get ripped.
In the third scandal, Ketraco misused Sh6.3 billion for no or shoddy works done. It goes something like, Ketraco allowed a contractor to keep 100 per cent of its staff, even when the project had been stopped for 54 months after landowners blocked it, instead of just keeping a skeleton staff until matters had been resolved. There were also additional claims due to the contractor’s overheads during the delay. Auditors also flagged variations of contracts whose prices had been set beyond the 20 per cent variation limit stipulated by procurement law. One of the projects was varied by up to 86 per cent, resulting in additional charges of Sh430 million. The report also found outstanding way-leave compensation amounting to Sh726 million, with another unclear payment of Sh35.6 million made to a landowner in Kajiado. There was also an inflated land compensation payment of Sh72 million to a software firm and the entity had taken a hit from a presidential directive on 20 per cent top up to compensate landowners.
The fourth scandal is that of the Loiyangalani-Suswa power line worth 28.9 billion shillings. The project which had varied estimation of costs from the National Treasury (Sh36 billion), Ministry of energy (Sh33 billion and Ketraco (Sh30 billion) stalled at some point. The 435-kilometre double circuit transmission line is also rated at 400kV but currently operates at 220kV.
In some other instances, it seemed Ketraco deliberately gave financially unhealthy companies contracts so as to have them collapse, then they divide the loot. Kenyans have lost a lot of money this way through Ketraco.
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 the construction of the Lessos-Tororo transmission line. The project cost has risen to Sh8.2 billion.
Fernandes Barasa’s weird ways is also seen in the way the office is being run by the new Managing director who is in office in an acting capacity.
Anthony Wamukota shows the level of rot at Ketraco and how some things were being executed.
From registering several firms through proxies, to deliberate sabotage of power line repairs, we get a glimpse into the world of Ketraco looters.
They’ve registered a lot of firms to which they give contracts to.
Despite the above economic crimes, Barasa has managed to convince Kakamega residents that he is the best for the job.
ODM Party is desperate to hang on him since it appears that he is popular.
Kenyans never earn, a known looter is within months of being voted into office, when the good works done by Governor Oparanya will be rolled back by the empty Fernandes Barasa, they’ll start complaining. Who bewitched Kenyans?
The Kakamega man appears to be above the law, an untouchable, as he even resigned a few days before he was supposed to appear before the Senate Committee to answer some questions about mismanagement.
THE CRIMINAL fourth series is out.
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