With just a year at the helm at the Kenya Ports Authority as Managing Director, Dr. Daniel Manduku has registered the highest performance since its inception decades back. Despite the challenges and witch hunts, he has managed to double the profits and register an impressive revenue collection hit target while collecting various international recognized awards.
Frustrated cartels and turf wars involving entrepreneurship operatives and a section of unsettled senior managers have been cited as the forces behind a scheme to oust Kenya Ports Authority boss Daniel Manduku “for stopping their eating culture”.
Sources privy to the goings-on at the Mombasa-based parastatal have told Kenya Top Secret how beneficiaries of the rampant graft at the port before his appointment were unhappy with Manduku, whose appointment in 2018 has sealed leakages through which billions of shillings were being plundered through flawed procurement.
Reports in a section of the media have suggested the Directorate of Criminal Investigations was probing top KPA officials over a Ksh6 billion procurement scandal at the port, putting Manduku at the centre of the probe but it has emerged that the probe is instigated by cartels that want the accomplished engineer out over two tenders amounting to KSh8 billion, which “he has stopped”.
“The main reason they are fighting him is because they wanted to coerce him into giving them those two tenders but he wouldn’t,” a source told the Kenya top secret CEO Dr.Mokaya Onsase.
“All talk about him blocking investigations is a fabrication of the cartels that now want to cause a rift between him and the CS with whom they have a great working relationship.”
Kenya Top Secret now understands, the mandarins were angered after their ploy to blackmail Manduku into quitting the plum job failed. They had sent emissaries to him (Manduku), saying the only way “he could save his life and avoid prosecution was to resign”, hoping his exit would make it easy for them to lobby for their man.
He refused to bow to their pressure and went ahead to issue strict directives to procurement and finance managers at the organization to, among other things, make sure that no procurement was done if there was no value for money or within the approved budgets.
In a letter dated 18 December 2018, addressed to Anthony Nyamancha, head of procurement and supplies; copied to the acting general manager for finance, Manduku directed that he would not approve any procurement if there was no strict compliance to the constitution and all relevant laws, various regulations, government circulars and directives.
“In view of the heightened fight against corruption… I direct that before any request is made to my office for approval of any procurement, you should personally ensure that all procurements are specifically contained in the in the authority’s procurement plan that is aligned to KPA’s master plan,” read the letter.
Further directives required that no procurement would be approved if they were not adequately and effectively address the need for procurement, not in the best interest of KPA or if KPA would not get value for money.
“… You are further directed that all projects should be supported by a feasibility study and clear recommendations, ensure a cost-benefit analysis is undertaken for all projects, ensure that you liaise with user departments and other relevant offices to ensure that all projects are properly managed.
“Meaning that there is effective monitoring and evaluation of each project against the set milestones in terms of costs, quality and timelines.”
Value for money
The letter received on 7 January 2019 also required the recipients to “ensure that adequate post-implementation planning/mechanisms are put in place to ensure that KPA has sufficient capacity to handle the project and that KPA has obtained value for its money”.
Our source maintained some of the projects being associated with Manduku happened before Manduku was appointed, while the KSh9 billion projects he is being haunted over were not priority undertakings.
“One of them (projects) relates to the construction of new KPA offices at a cost of KSh7 billion and another was approximately KSh1.7 billion. That is why they mad with him because they see him as a stumbling block.
“He has ensured compliance to all cabinet directives, including one that required that all procurements above KSh5 billion are expressly approved by cabinet so the suggestion that he has overseen projects without cabinet approval has no basis at all.”
Dealt with cartels
Some top managers are fighting Manduku for how he shuffled top management when he took over, with some even adamant to report to their new stations “because their looting channels have been blocked by the move to transfer them to other work stations.”
Our source maintains, the alleged whistle-blower is one of the top managers harbouring sour grapes over how Manduku has dealt with cartels, through which they were benefiting from public coffers.
Since his appointment, Manduku is credited with a number of achievements, including provision of a strategic direction for the port contained in a 30-year master plan, remarkable progress in project implementation, marked improvement in port volumes and profitability from KSh10.6 to KSh 17.5 billion in 2018/19 and integration of ICT in port operations especially at the Inland Container Depot which has increased efficiency cargo.
Doubling profit from 9 billion last year to 15 billion isn’t a cup of coffee considering revenue from operations are 48,879,838,000 as expenditure stands at 34,815,920,000, while finance income is 1,895,705,000 bringing profit to 15,444,061,000. So impressive. When a state corporation doubles its profit from 9 billion to 15 billion, the it’s a big step towards making the port efficiency to be at top. Dr. Manduku has improved the Port performance due to the enhanced efficiency levels in cargo offtake by the Standard Gauge Rail (SGR), expansion of the Inland Container Depot, Nairobi (ICDN), investment in infrastructure mainly container yards and modern equipment has made the Port of Mombasa to remain among the top 120 world container ports and among the top 6 in Africa. The Port is connected to over 80 ports globally and served by over 40 shipping lines.
Kenyans are proud of such great transformative brains, we need such people in our institutions to produce great profits. Those fighting back must have an hidden agenda, but again Kenya’s corporate space is a sight to behold.