Monday August 24, 2020 – President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Government is brewing another multi-billion scandal that will make other corruption scandals that have bedeviled Jubilee Government look like child play.
Already, anti-corruption activists and civil society actors are asking questions after the Government through the Nuclear Power and Energy Agency revealed plans to build a nuclear power plant.
The plant is expected to cost around Ksh540 billion, with the agency settling for Tana River County as the ideal location after a series of studies.
A regulatory filing on the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) website revealed that the plant will be built through a concessionaire.
The nuclear power agency expects that the plant will be up and running within seven years.
Some Kenyans, including renowned economist David Ndii, anti-corruption activist John Githongo and Jerotich Seii, an energy sector activist, however, believe that the project will never come to fruition, describing it as an example of what former Auditor General Edward Ouko called ‘budgeted corruption’.
According to Ndii, the goal was not to build the plant, but rather to siphon billions of public funds in the initial stages of the project.
“It is not going to be built.”
“The purpose is to justify a project preparation budget, say about 2.5% comes to $125m (Sh12.5 billion).”
“This is what Edward Ouko was describing as exit lanes for budgeted corruption,” he stated.
On the other hand, Githongo described it as one last cash grab before the expiry of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second term in 2022.
“A USD5 billion (Ksh500 billion) nuclear plant two years before an election is a scandal in the making. One last major cash grab before the polls,” he stated.
“The scandal has already been hardwired into the LCPDP (Least Cost Power Development Plan).”
“Between the dodgy PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements), feasibilities, etc, we are looking at USD58.8B (Ksh6.4 Trillion) over the next 20 years,” wrote Jerotich Seii who is behind a long-running campaign against corruption in the energy sector.
According to the nuclear power agency, the plant will have an initial capacity of 1,000 Megawatts (MW).
“Its capacity is then to be expanded fourfold.”
“The government expects to do this through a build, operate and transfer (BOT) model.”
Before NEMA can approve the project, the public will be required to give their submissions on the anticipated impact.
The Kenyan DAILY POST