The National Assembly has blocked the planned takeover of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) by Kenya Airways (KQ) after it emerged that the deal was being crafted by top government officials, Parliament heard yesterday.
During the heated discussions, it also emerged that instructions for the takeover were issued by Transport Principal secretary Esther Koimett, who asked Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) managing director Jonny Anderson to act on a Cabinet decision.
The MPs said the takeover plan in which KQ would tentatively run JKIA for 30 years is suspect and a case of top forces conniving to rip off taxpayers.
Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa asked the KAA chairman Isaac Awuondo to step down citing glaring violations of laws guiding conflict of interest.
But Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria protested the move to discuss Awuondo, saying more than seven banks were owed by the national carrier and cautioned the committee against targeting him.
Kuria told the committee that stopping the takeover process was not only “ill-advised but preemptive, presumptive and out of order”. Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter, who brought the petition before the committee, said the takeover was illegal because the KAA Act, Cap 395, prohibits ownership of airports by private entities.
The Public Investments Committee has, hence, halted all transactions regarding the takeover until the matter is resolved.
Further, the committee asked KAA to recover Sh15 million that was paid to the transaction adviser – MMC Africa, which was a down payment for the Sh150 million advisory contract.
The firm was hired to devise the takeover plan which has sparked protests among Kenyans citing fears of losing Sh8 billion in revenue.
PIC chairman Abdulswamad Nassir said the committee would do a formal communication to the House regarding the decision.