Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is a body under siege, rocked with waves of corruption and graft allegedly steered by the general manager operations and habour master William Kipkemboi Ruto alias ‘Captain Ruto’.
According to a letter from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ruto has been using port resources to enrich himself.
The DCI reveals that ‘Captain’ authorised the use of two KPA tug boats namely MV Eugene and Nyangumi II to salvage a ship namely MV Serval International Maritime Organisation (IMO) at Shimoni area in Kwale and pocketed half of the payment of the paid Ksh30 million.
He also ordered that Ksh15 million be paid to a private company namely Alpha Logistics Srervices (EPZ) Ltd.
The incidence happened on December 25, when the said MV Serval IMO sailed out of the Port of Mombasa, but developed mechanical problems.
She called back into the port at around 7.40pm sending distress call that she had lost her engines and needed permission to anchor.
The owners of the ship contacted Captain Ruto who was at the control tower to save the vessel, which was about seven to eight nautical miles from the control tower. The owners had also contacted Alpha Logistics Services (EPZ) for assistance.
There were consultations with the General Manager Operations and Habour Master Capt. William K. Ruto, the Chief pilot Capt. Abdille and the Head of Marine Operations Captain Muthama. The Master was then advised against anchoring outside the port limits as anchorage was not good.
Discussions did however go on between the General Manager Operations and Harbour Master Capt. William K. Ruto, Alpha Logistics Operations Manager Rosella Lospenato and the Vessel insurers and underwriters representative as to what kind of assistance was needed and at what cost.
There was a decision to send a KPA tug boat to MV Serval to assess the situation. This was done at around 21:50hrs when a tug My Eugene left its berth from KPA and headed out to the casualty. At the same time tug Alpha Granada left its berth at Alpha Logistics Services (En) Ltd jetty and headed out to the casualty MV Serval.
Upon reaching the casualty (MV Serval) the Captain of Alpha Granada presented the Lyyods Open Form (LOF), an International Form for salvage operation, which the Captain of MV Serval declined to accept and sign.
The operation which was done by KPA assisted by Alpha Logistics would cost the owners Ksh1.5 million per hour.
After awaiting on the best way forward which was not forthcoming, Captain Aziz who was aboard MV Eugene of Kenya Ports Authority then got instruction to go back to the port because he was the duty Captain for the night. He left the side of MV serval at around 23:50hrs.
Alpha Granada was however left alongside the casualty overnight for any emergency eventuality. The discussions that had taken place settled on salvage operation of MV Serval from Sea to .K” anchorage.
The operation went on for 17 hours, spreading to the next day when the vessel was towed to safety.
This meant that the amount payable was Ksh51 million, but the amount was reduced to Ksh30 million, after the masters and owners of the vessel disputed the amount.
“The general manager operations and habour master Mr William Ruto was the one leading the negotiations on behalf of KPA and Alpha Logistics. There was no clear guidelines to the reduction of the amount.
This led to KPA and Alpha logistics losing Ksh21 million, Ksh10.5 million each since the amount was to be divided on a 50-50 basis.
It is suspected that Ruto could have colluded with cartels and owners of the vessel to pocket the ‘discounted’ amount, leading to losses at the firm.