Kenya Power CEO Charged With Economic Crimes Over Alleged Graft

(Bloomberg) -- The chief executive officer of Kenya’s monopoly power distributor was charged in court after handing himself over to authorities investigating corruption allegations.

The probe into alleged graft at the state-owned company forms part of a widening crackdown ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta earlier this year. His administration is seeking to improve controls over public funds to help finance last month’s record budget.

Kenya Power & Lighting Ltd. CEO Ken Tarus surrendered at the headquarters of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations on Sunday after a warrant was issued for his arrest, the office said in a tweet.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution on Saturday ordered the arrest of several senior staff at Kenya Power after investigations into various tenders at the company. Detectives already detained former CEO Ben Chumo and two other officials “on suspicion of committing offenses of economic crime,” the office said.

Tarus, Chumo and nine senior Kenya Power managers denied more than six charges of economic crimes, abuse of office and conspiracy to defeat justice at a Nairobi court on Monday, Daily Nation newspaper reported on Twitter.

The state appointed Jared Omondi Otieno, who’s been with the company for 31 years, to lead an interim management team for three months, Energy Secretary Charles Keter told reporters in the capital, Nairobi.

Kenya Power shares closed unchanged at 6.55 shillings, after gaining as much as 6.9 percent in the day’s trading.

“Expect short-term shocks on price due to this news,” Gerald Muriuki, an analyst at Genghis Capital Ltd. in Nairobi, said by phone.

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