Fresh details have emerged on how millions of shillings have already exchanged hands between applicants for the plum position of Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director and power barons sitting at State House.
A KPA official privy to the information described the situation as embarrassing as those desperately seeking to be appointed to the position are on a fundraising frenzy to meet the demands of new port directors and power brokers.
The applicants are parting with between Sh1 million to Sh3 million but the matters have been complicated by the fact that they have to deal with a chain of brokers from Transport ministry, State House and the cartels within the KPA board.
A similar situation was witnessed during the search for a substantive MD three years ago and forced Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) sleuths to swing in and investigate the bribery allegations.
The shopping of a new MD began December last year after the postion was advertised with the closing date of submissions of applications being January 13 2023.
But before the interviews began, the new Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen, sacked the entire KPA board of directors and replaced them with new members.
The fired directors included Lydia Yator, Stephen Gichohi, Conrad Thorpe, Farida Abdalla, Nilfat Kassim and Joseph Kibwana whose position was taken over by former Kinango MP, Hon. Benjamin Tayari.
The new board entrants include former Malindi MP Lucas Maitha, Musa Osman, Emmanuel Kibet, Consolata Lusweti and Caroline Njoki.
Maitha was gifted by the current regime for playing a pivotal role in bringing PAA party associated with senate speaker Amason Kingi from Azimio Coalition into Kenya Kwanza, months to the last general elections.
Murkomen’s move to alter the management of the state agency is said to have sent cartels and their fronted candidates for MD’s post back to the drawing board as some of the sacked directors had already pockets handsome bribes.
It is the fourth time in three years that the government is trying to fill the MD position. Amb. John Mwangemi has been in acting capacity since July 2021 when he took over from Rashid Salim who had also the position in an acting capacity before he retired.
As the government shops for a substantive MD, the process to reduce the bloated KPA management from 14 to 7 is also set to kick off.
Murkomen has instructed the new KPA board to among other things, to rescind the decision of the former board to create a new port management structure which is bloated and has overlapping roles.
The GM sections to be merged according to reports include that of ferry, engineering services, marine operations, procurement and audit.
The EACC is also expected to probe tender awards at the Mombasa Port in the period towards the last general elections. The anti-graft commission hasa information that a section of top officials at KPA and the Treasury used “restricted tenders” to award jobs to unscrupulous businessmen at highly inflated cost to loot billions from KPA coffers.
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