Attorney-General Justin Muturi has brought to light a critical oversight in Kenya Power's dealings with independent power producers (IPPs), emphasizing that the company failed to seek legal guidance from the State Law Office before entering into multi-billion shilling power purchase agreements (PPAs).

This lapse in due process is now under scrutiny for its role in driving up the cost of electricity in the country.

Speaking before the National Assembly's Energy committee, Muturi disclosed that Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) had directly negotiated and executed the PPAs with IPPs without soliciting input or advice from the Attorney-General's office.

"The agreements (PPAs) were never presented to the Attorney-General for input and advice. Kenya Power directly negotiated and signed contracts with the IPPs without the knowledge of the State Law Office," Muturi emphasised.

Muturi further emphasized that the agreements, often regarded as unalterable, were executed without any involvement or guidance from the Attorney-General's office. 

The Attorney-General pointed out that the law mandates government entities, including State corporations, to seek legal clearance before engaging in contractual agreements.

Notably, his office had not had any of the PPAs and had not reviewed the agreements between Kenya Power and the respective IPPs.

The disclosure comes as part of the National Assembly's Energy Committee's inquiry into the high cost of electricity, where Muturi was invited to offer his legal perspective.

The committee sought to understand the legal ramifications of terminating certain agreements and explore methods to identify the beneficial owners of power companies registered outside Kenya, potentially invoking the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) principle.

However, Muturi explained that he could not provide a legal opinion at this juncture, as a multi-agency committee, consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Energy and Kenya Power, was actively involved in the renegotiation of these PPAs.

He highlighted that this multi-agency team had been intermittently meeting since August, underscoring the importance of regular progress reports to facilitate oversight.

In light of these revelations, the Attorney-General called for Kenya Power to make all PPAs available for a thorough examination by the committee and his office.

This step aims to clarify the concerns surrounding the perceived cost implications of terminating these agreements and to provide greater transparency regarding the contractual commitments between Kenya Power and the IPPs.

These developments underscore the challenges associated with Kenya's long-term power purchase agreements and underscore the pressing need for a comprehensive legal review to address the ongoing issue of high electricity costs in the nation.