Road build­ing firms on the spot for bad work

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - NATIONAL NEWS - BY DAVID MWERE

Road con­struc­tion com­pa­nies have been put on the spot for fleec­ing the coun­try of bil­lions of shillings by en­ter­ing into projects they can­not com­plete on time, or pulling out mid­way, cit­ing fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties. While some sub­let the projects, oth­ers do shoddy work, forc­ing the gov­ern­ment to get other con­trac­tors, at ex­tra cost.

Au­di­tor-gen­eral Ed­ward Ouko's re­port on the ac­counts of the Kenya Ru­ral Roads Author­ity (KERRA) as at June 30, 2017, de­tails how th­ese com­pa­nies have failed Kenyans.

A case in point is the Kap­tama-sirisia Road in Bun­goma, for which Sh2.6 bil­lion has al­ready been paid, but there is noth­ing to show for.

“In the cir­cum­stances, it has not been pos­si­ble to con­firm whether the pub­lic ob­tained value for money al­ready in­curred,” Mr Ouko said of the con­tract that was later ter­mi­nated. The 64-kilo­me­tre road project was awarded to KSL In­ter­na­tional Ltd in 2007, with work ex­pected to be­gin in June the same year and end by May 2010. But 11 years later, the project is yet to be com­pleted, with Mr Ouko say­ing the man­age­ment has not availed in­for­ma­tion on its cur­rent sta­tus.

Worse still, the con­trac­tor, was put un­der re­ceiver­ship in 2015. In ad­di­tion, the con­trac­tor was un­able to set­tle Sh3 mil­lion in rent ar­rears owed to the author­ity for the Mwatunge The cost in bil­lions of shillings al­ready paid for the Kap­tama-sirisia Road. There is noth­ing to show for it. camp in Taita-taveta, which the com­pany had used in an­other con­tract. The con­trac­tor later filed for mu­tual wind­ing up of the con­tract in 2015, say­ing the re­main­ing money on was not enough to com­plete the out­stand­ing work, based on de­sign spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

The re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and re­pair of the Sh818.5 mil­lion Ka­soiyo-saos-so­ci­ety Road is also in­com­plete. It was awarded to M/s Bridge­stone Con­struc­tion Com­pany Ltd and was sched­uled for com­ple­tion by Fe­bru­ary 2016.

“Al­though the con­trac­tor re­quested for sub­stan­tial com­ple­tion in­spec­tion in Septem­ber 2017, the man­age­ment had not un­der­taken the same by the time of the au­dit,” Mr Ouko says. In ad­di­tion, work worth Sh504.8 mil­lion was as­signed to an­other con­trac­tor.

The Sh2.1 bil­lion con­struc­tion of the Mu­rang'a-gi­tugi and Njumbi-mioro roads are also “un­sat­is­fac­tory”. The project was awarded to M/s Ny­oro Com­pany Ltd in July 2012, and was sup­posed to be com­pleted in Fe­bru­ary 2015. But by June 30, 2017, the project was only 47 per­cent com­plete, mean­ing it could lead to es­ca­la­tion of costs. There is also a Sh7 mil­lion in­ter­est, in­curred as a re­sult de­layed pay­ments.

Other in­com­plete projects in­clude the Sh2.5 bil­lion­tar­ma­ck­ing of the 45.9 kilo­me­tre Naro­moru-munyu-kar­isheni Road awarded to M/s Kirinyaga Con­struc­tion Ltd 2012.

Vi­higa Sen­a­tor Ge­orge Khaniri has asked the county gov­ern­ment to stop the planned con­struc­tion of the Sh80 mil­lion gover­nor's res­i­dence and chan­nel the funds to mean­ing­ful projects that would ben­e­fit the lo­cals. Speak­ing at Jep­koyai in Hamisi on Sun­day, Mr Khaniri faulted the de­ci­sion to buy a two-hectare par­cel of land on the out­skirts of Mbale town at a cost of Sh23.9 mil­lion for the build­ing of the gover­nor's man­sion, say­ing the cost was ex­or­bi­tant. How­ever, Gover­nor Wil­ber Ot­tichilo said the res­i­dence will be used to con­duct of­fi­cial county busi­ness.

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