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Wendy is an industrial radiation technologist




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Wendy Omolo is perfecting her art in the science of Radiation Technology, specialising in industrial applications. After she graduated with a BSc Mechanical Engineering from Kenyatta University in 2012, she got a job with Heavy Engineering Ltd, Nairobi.

It is while here that she made up her mind to study industrial radiation technology. To get there, one must enroll in a Nuclear Science course.

When the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board offered her sponsorship at the University of Nairobi’s Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology to study the specialisation under the Nuclear Science master’s programme in 2015, Wendy seized the opportunity.

She attended Asego Primary School in Homa Bay County, before joining Ng’iya Girls High School in Siaya County, scoring A- (KCSE) in 2005, enabling her to enroll for a BSc in Mechanical Engineering.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in industrial radiation technology?

I developed interest in radiation technology because of being exposed to engineering applications. After my undergraduate course, I was employed by Heavy Engineering Ltd, which specialised in fabrication of equipment used in energy production. I noticed that they used non-destructive nuclear testing techniques in quality control within the production lines.

I was captivated and became interested to study this particular line of science for observing the efficiency in a plants’ production lines.

My dream was to come true after the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board sponsored my nuclear science studies.

How does an industrial radiation technologist apply the skills in the field?

One uses radio tracers (radio isotopes), which emit radiation to check if something is functioning as intended. Radio tracers are particularly prepared to perform a certain task. In industrial application, radio tracers are used to check whether a plant or factory’s operation system is functioning as intended.

What are the various applications of radio isotopes applications?

The most common one is in nuclear medicine, where radio isotopes are used for diagnosis, treatment (radiotherapy) and medical equipment sterilisation.

The radio tracer technology is used to get accurate information that cannot be obtained in any other way. For example, in monitoring mixing and flow rate of different materials, inspecting integrity of welds and metal parts, and efficacy of nucleonic gauges used to check levels of gases, liquids and solids.

Mention one radio tracer nuclear technology application to check out competence of an industrial process.

This was at the Nairobi’s Dandora Waste Water Treatment plant in Ruai. I was checking if the waste water treatment system was operating efficiently. I used a detector designed to test gamma radiation to trace the waste water at the inlet and the outlet of the ponds.

The waste water must stay in a specific pond for a certain time to undergo a specific degree of treatment. If this is altered in any way, the quality of treatment is affected. A radio tracer therefore comes in handy to record the waste water movement within a specific pond.

Wendy shows a data acquisition system a radiation technologist uses for online transmission of recorded information while in the field.

Wendy shows a data acquisition system a radiation technologist uses for online transmission of recorded information while in the field. PHOTO| PETER MUSA

What is your observation regarding industrial waste?

We can minimise and even eliminate environmental pollution from industrial wastes by making sure that stringent pollution control measures are not only put in place, but implemented to the letter. If industrial wastes are not managed properly, they pose serious environmental and health risks.


What are some of the lethal wastes that you have discovered during routine testing?

There is high level of heavy metals such as cadmium, manganese and lead. This implies that our industrial processes are not always efficient.

How much does your career determine our planet’s safety?

Application of radiation techniques, especially in the industrial processes, ensures the quality and integrity of products, which in turn gives a safety assurance.

For instance, in the installation of any pipeline in the petro-chemical industry, radiography is applied to check on the quality of welds, hence reducing the chance of leakages that can lead to catastrophic accidents.

Radio tracers are also used to detect leakages once the pipeline is in operation, therefore improving the safety aspects and conservation of the environment.

What are some of the challenges facing our industrial waste management?

There is lack of adherence to the laws governing industrial waste disposal. This is made worse by our attitude in general, of not paying much attention to the environment.

There is a big gap at policy implementation. Industries are required to pre-treat all their waste before being discharged in the sewer system. Some factories don’t pre-treat waste while others release it directly to nearby rivers.

Which routine procedures do you follow before setting off in the field to perform a task?

Before carrying out radio tracer experiments, there are various factors that must be considered, such as understanding of the system to be tested. You need to have carried out feasibility assessment, including plant visits, selection of suitable locations to carry out the tests, measurement of background radiation, waste disposal, usefulness of the experiment and its economic aspects. You also need to check your apparatus.

What challenges come with your career?

As an emerging field in the country, radiation technology is faced with some setbacks, the major one being availability of radioisotopes.

Currently, radio tracers are not produced locally, making it more expensive since it has to be imported from other countries such as South Africa.

How do you solve, or cope, with such challenges?
Every experiment procedure requires proper planning not only to obtain best results, but also to prevent radiation contamination and minimise exposure to persons handling the experiment. While in the field, it is a rule that one should use the right gear for protection from radiation effects.

What is the future like for those who would want to study your career?

As a new profession in Kenya, industrial application of radio tracer is a career which still doesn’t have many local people in it, therefore opportunities are many. Go for it because it is achievable, this is what I tell the students whom I meet during my voluntary motivational talks. So far, I have given talks in Murang’a, Kiambu and Malindi.

Can you be self-employed in this field?
You can earn handsomely working as a consultant in factories and for plants, as they need expertise in their various production lines.

You can also act as a professional and policy adviser to companies and organisations on standards and maintaining of standards of production.



Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’




Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –




Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard




Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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