Auditor-General Edward Ouko has questioned an out-of-court deal that saw the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) drop its bid to recover Sh42.2 million from oil marketer Vivo Energy, trading as Shell, as compensation for the grounding of the agency’s helicopter following an accident involving a fuel tanker.
Mr Ouko reckons there is no justification for the KWS to drop the push for the compensation for loss of use of the Bell Helicopter for the 90 days when it was under repair.
The accident occurred on July 16, 2012 while the helicopter was refuelling at Nairobi’s Wilson Airport.
The KWS sought Sh13.7 million for repairs and Sh42.2 million for loss of use of the helicopter for the 90 days.
The demand prompted a suit that saw the KWS accept the compensation for repairs and drop its claim for loss of the chopper’s use via an out-of-court deal.
The KWS says it could not recover the money for losses due to contractual challenges and the need to maintain a relationship with Vivo.
“However, the loss of use of Sh42,228,000 wasn’t settled due to challenges on contractual documentation to third parties usage of aircraft to support KWS revenue loss claim,” John Waweru, the KWS director-general, said in response to audit queries.
In a letter dated November 17, 2014, then acting KWS managing director William Kiprono accepted payments of Sh13.7 million from Vivo as the cost incurred in repairing the helicopter following the accident.
“We wish to confirm that, in the interest of preserving the business relationship between our organisations, we hereby accept your offer to pay the sum of Sh13,739,825 being the cost incurred in repairing the helicopter following the accident.
“We confirm that this is in full and final settlement of our claim,” Mr Kiprono wrote.