Sang makes comeback at Pipeline

Tuesday, January 24th, 2023 02:30 | By
Sang makes comeback at Pipeline
Kenya Pipeline Company Managing Director Joe Sang during a press conference at Kenpipe Plaza in Nairobi on corruption allegations facing the company on June 5, 2018. SALATON NJAU (NAIROBI)

Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) has officially re-appointed Joe Kimutai Sang as the acting Managing Director, making a comeback four years later effectively replacing Dr Irungu Macharia.

Sang’s return on a fresh three-year tenure comes after his controversial exit on alleged corruption and mismanagement charges in December 2018, alongside other senior officials. The High Court set him free last month, saying there was no money lost in the Kisumu oil jetty project. 

This adds to the growing list of corruption cases involving executives which have been scrapped off since the new administration came into office.

On his re-appointment, the KPC board praised Sang’s previous short tenure as effective, which it says contributed to the corporation’s profitability which started to decline immediately after his exit.

Effective Sang

“I was part of the KPC board that witnessed the profitability of the Company rise steadily from 2016 when he assumed management,” KPC Board Chair Faith Boinnet said in a statement.

Sang will take over from the substantive MD, Dr Macharia Irungu, who had replaced him previously in 2018. However, the surprise return of Mr Sang points to KPC’s top leadership crisis, where executives have either been reshuffled in a huff or contracts terminated.

The crisis started to deepen last December when Rita Okuthe, earlier plucked from Safaricom PLC, was replaced by Faith Boinett as the Board’s chairperson. Okuthe’s contract was revoked under unclear circumstances just eight months before expiry.

The coming of the new chairperson, Ms Boinnet, led to the immediate firing of Dr Irungu on the grounds that his three-year term expired and that he never showed any interest in an extension.

Ironically, Dr Irungu’s contract had already been extended until January 2025 by Okuthe, who was the then chair of the same board that Ms Boinnet served as a member of.

“There was no expression of interest on your part to have the contract extended or renewed despite an invitation by the board to do so vide the letter dated December 9, 2022, written to you by the board chairperson,” KPC board chairperson Faith Bett Boinett said in a separate letter dated 13 January 2023.

Dr Irungu has since sought legal redress with the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC), which reinstated him. The court further directed an alternative dispute resolution on the matter, which awaits final proceed next month.

About Sh1.9 billion taxpayers’ money was allegedly lost in 2018 in the Kisumu oil jetty project during Sang’s tenure. There was also the probing of cases by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) over the alleged loss of 21 million litres of fuel and procurement irregularities at the firm.

More on Business