In March, Struggling Electricity distributor Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) announced a tender for 76,657 treated wooden poles from local firms marking a major U-turn after just recently phasing out the wooden poles in favor of concrete types, now two firms linked to the Kenyatta family, have won the tenders for the supply of Sh1.198 billion concrete and wooden poles.
A spot check by KenyanBusinesfeed shows that Timsales Limited which lists Muhoho Kenyatta as a director will supply wooden poles worth Sh112.87 million while its sister company Rai Cement will deliver concrete poles valued at Sh70.13 million to the monopoly.
Timsales ltd was originally (founded in the late 30s) a Colonial/British company engaging in the timber business. It specialized in harvesting cheaply, from Kenya’s vast natural forests, exotic hardwood trees being cleared for colonial settlement. After independence, the clever British owners foresaw the significant role that local politics would impact their business. Thus they invited President Jomo Kenyatta into a partnership – for strategic reasons, the company has stayed as a family business since.
The Kenyattas were linked to Timsales Holdings first in public when activists took to the streets against the timber company for destroying the Mau forest .
KPLC plans to spend Sh873.73 million in paying firms that won the tenders to supply wooden poles and Sh324.81 million will cater for the delivery concrete poles.
The monopoly had asked commercial tree farmers to apply for the tenders to supply mature logs that would then be processed into electricity poles. “The Kenya Power & Lighting Company Plc invites bids from eligible tenderers for supply of treated wooden poles. Interested eligible tenderers may obtain further information from the general manager, supply chain,” KPLC states. “Exclusive preference shall firstly be given to citizen contractors where the amount of the tender as evaluated is below Sh500 million in respect of works, goods and services.”
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