The National Oil Corporation of Kenya board has given an ultimatum to the corporation’s management to contract an audit company to probe affairs at the State-owned oil marketer by mid this month.
This follows last week’s action by the directors to suspend managing director Sumayya Hassan-Athmani to pave the way for investigations.
The call for an audit comes in the wake of a Sh270 million loss that Nock registered for the first half of the current financial year.
It is understood that the board had ordered the audit to be carried out in November but it failed to see the light of day due to alleged interference by the corporation’s management.
“The procurement process is ongoing and we will have an auditor by February 15,” said Ms MaryJane Mwangi, acting managing director at Nock.
Ms Hassan-Athmani’s suspension comes just weeks after Ms Flora Okoth, who has been acting managing director of the Kenya Pipeline Company, proceeded on leave under unclear circumstances. She was replaced by Mr Joe Sang, also in an acting capacity.
The changes signal a spirited reorganisation of the management of key State corporations following numerous appointments to parastatal boards made by President Uhuru Kenyatta last year.
Speaking to the Nation on telephone, Mr Andrew Kamau, the principal secretary in the State department of petroleum said he could not comment on the issues at Nock because “parastatal boards are independent from the ministry”.
Ms Hassan-Athmani was in her second term in office, running for a period of three years, after then Cabinet secretary for Energy and Petroleum Davis Chirchir renewed her contract from April 1, 2014.
Last year, Nock won a lucrative deal to supply fuel lubricants and bitumen to government ministries and agencies in an exclusive arrangement that locked out private oil marketers.
The directive was issued through a letter from Chief Of Staff and Head of the Public Service Joseph Kinyua to principal secretaries, copied to Cabinet secretaries.