The proposed take over of Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport whose ownership and management is to be placed under a holding company that will be 100% owned by KQ in a concession deal that will run for 30 years is one the calls for serious questioning due to the far reaching implications it portends.
For a facility that tax payers taxpayers have heavily invested on for expansion and maintenance, legislators in the Senate and the National Assembly will be expected to demand transparency and accountability in this deal and ensure the public gets value for money and a worthy return on investment.
But examined more closely, Kenyans need not to look very far to connect the dots. Isaac Awuondo, long serving Chairman of Kenyatta owned Commercial Bank of Africa was recently appointed to Chair the Board of KAA. What is CBA’s interests in the running of JKIA?
At the moment, KQ owes KAA more that Sh6 billion in unpaid bills ranging from land fees, parking charges and other services. Can KQ first put its accounts to order and settle it’s debts before seeking to take over JKIA?
The suspect takeover plan which was been conceived by Kenya Airways Chairman Michael Joseph has confounded aviation observers who wonder how a private loss making company like Kenya Airways can move to takeover a profitable and strategic state institution, unless there is a powerful force out to profiteer from the publicly owned institution.
But Michael Joseph is nortorious for grabbing and building monopolistic firms and the proposed KQ-JKIA deal is intended to monopolise the Kenyan skies and give the privately owned airlines a guaranteed revenue stream for 30 years.
Kenyans will remember Michael Joseph was responsible for the controversial loss of Safaricom shares from the then state owned Telkom Kenya and the subsequent IPO that saw shadowy Mobitelea grab substantial public shares in Safaricom.
Today, Safaricom which continues to enjoy monopolistic policies from government rakes in annual profits in excess of Sh50 billion which is paid to private individuals as dividend, money that could have otherwise gone to state coffers had the Telkom shares been retained by the public.