Revealed: How IT geeks at Kenya Power minted millions from illegal token sale
A blow by blow account of how staff at the Kenya Power illegally generated and sold electricity tokens to consumers in the black market leading to a loss of Sh35.2 million can now be revealed today.
Thirteen individuals working in the company’s ICT department generated the tokens, which they sold to a second layer of people who acted as retailers and are believed to be the greatest beneficiaries of the deal.
The retailers could in turn market the cheap and illegal tokens on various social media sites.
“The company has sacked some of those who were implicated in the illegal deal while others were warned and cautioned,” a staff at the lighting company told Nairobi News.
Investigations now reveal that the retailers opened several Facebook pages where they advertised the cheap tokens attracting consumers who were ready to spend less money for more tokens.
One such a page is “Amazing Tokens”, which was created in February 2018 and used to advertise the tokens.
“Cheap KPLC tokens on sale call/ text/ WhatsApp 0720290688,” reads a post on the page.
Another page is “Affordable Direct Tokens”, which was created in 2017 and the rogue retailers used to lure customers with.
The page has Kenya Power logo as its profile picture which is a trick that could attract customers to fall for the cheap tokens that were illegally generated.
The firm on Wednesday said that in November 2018, it received business intelligence that prepaid tokens were being advertised for sale at discounted prices through social media.
“Based on the information, an internal audit commenced and upon its conclusion, it was established that tokens worth Sh35.2 million were illegally generated and issued to customers,” Kenya Power managers said.
It said that the irregularly generated tokens were sent to customers through unofficial channels especially through personal phone numbers and hence denying the company millions in revenue.
It is on that notice that the utility firm contacted customers who were beneficiaries of the deal and summoned them to assist in investigations.
A senior official at the company told Nairobi News that the customers gave shocking revelations of what transpired. The company then referred the matter to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
It is on that note that the DCI on June 27 this year summoned 119 individuals and directors of companies to record statements, tying up a 16-month investigation.
A source at DCI privy to the matter said that many more people might be implicated by the time they are through with the investigations.
“We are pursuing suspects who used different phone numbers and delivered the tokens to the consumers. Some have already been summoned and recorded statement,” the source who spoke in confidence said.
Kenya Power acting managing director Jared Othieno said that the customers who benefited from the deal were aware of what was happening but they went ahead to pay less for more tokens.
“They went ahead and bought the tokens and none of the money was sent to Kenya Power Company,” he said. He also said that the company has engaged an independent ICT auditor in June to assist in auditing all KPLC systems.