July 17, 2018 / 4:27 PM / in 3 months

Kenya Power CEO, senior managers granted bail

NAIROBI (Reuters) - A Kenyan court on Tuesday granted bail to Kenya Power chief executive Ken Tarus, his predecessor, Ben Chumo and other senior managers at the company who are charged with conspiring to commit an economic crime and abuse of office.

The accused were released on cash bail of 1 million Kenyan shillings ($9,945.30) and were asked to deposit their traveling documents to the court, Douglas Ogoti, chief magistrate at the anti-corruption court said in his ruling.

The pre-trial date was set for Aug 6.

The company on Monday named Jared Omondi Othieno as acting chief executive and said the interim senior management team will run the company pending the hearing and conclusion of ongoing court cases against previous managers [L8N1UC1W3].

Energy Minister Charles Keter, who announced Othieno’s appointment, said the company’s operations would continue as normal. “The interim management team will be in office for three months as we conclude the restructuring program,” he said.

Tarus, the head of the state-controlled power distributor, is the latest high-profile figure to be prosecuted in the country’s corruption crackdown.

He was charged on Monday alongside Chumo, and a number of other senior managers at the company.

They deny all the charges.

Tarus and his fellow executives at Kenya Power are accused of entering into a contract with a private firm for the supply of transformers, which turned out to be faulty.

Prosecutors said this deal also flouted procurement rules for state entities.

Dozens of Kenyan government officials and business people have appeared in court in the past three months to face charges relating to the alleged theft of hundreds of millions of shillings from public coffers in a new drive to tackle corruption.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was sworn in for a second term last November, has faced criticism for failing to fight graft during his first term despite a pledge to root out the vice when he was first elected in 2013.

He has ordered lifestyle audits for all government officials as part of the renewed attempt to battle corruption

($1 = 100.5500 Kenyan shillings)

Reporting by Humphrey Malalo; editing by Omar Mohammed and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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