Con­trac­tors stall Sh9bn roads af­ter pay­ment

Business Daily (Kenya) - - ECONOMY & POLITICS - David Mwere dmwere@ke.na­tion­media.com OUKO--FILE

It has not been pos­si­ble to con­firm whether the pub­lic ob­tained value for money.” ED­WARD OUKO | AUDITORGENERAL

Rogue con­trac­tors are on the spot for the loss of tax­pay­ers’ bil­lions af­ter aban­don­ing road works and de­lays in com­plet­ing projects worth sh 9 bil­lion de­spite re­ceiv­ing pay­ments, the Au­di­tor-gen­eral re­veals.

The re­port of Au­di­tor-gen­eral Ed­ward Ouko on the ac­counts of Kenya Ru­ral Roads Au­thor­ity (KERRA) as at June 30, 2017, has de­tailed how con­trac­tors have failed to of­fer tax­pay­ers value for money.

The scheme in­volves trans­fer­ring works to un­qual­i­fied firms af­ter re­ceiv­ing pay­ment, aban­don­ing projects mid­way and shoddy works that have forced the State to seek other con­trac­tors at ex­tra costs.

The ques­tion­able works are in ru­ral Kenya and the con­tracts are worth Sh9.08 bil­lion. A case in point is the con­struc­tion of Kap­tama- Sirisia Road in Bun­goma, which ac­cord­ing to Mr Ouko, Sh2.6 bil­lion has al­ready been paid but there is noth­ing to show for it. “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 be ter­mi­nated.

The 64 kilo­me­tre road pro­ject was awarded to KSL In­ter­na­tional Limited in 2007 with the works ex­pected to start in June of the same year and end by May 2010.

How­ever, 11 years down the line, the pro­ject is yet to be com­pleted with Mr Ouko say­ing that the man­age­ment has not availed in­for­ma­tion on its cur­rent sta­tus.

To com­pound an al­ready sorry sit­u­a­tion, the con­trac­tor, ac­cord­ing to Mr Ouko, was put un­der re­ceiver­ship in 2015 with all the site op­er­a­tions brought to a halt.

The con­trac­tor was also un­able to set­tle Sh3 mil­lion in rent ar­rears owed to the au­thor­ity for the Mwatunge camp in Taita Taveta, which was used in the pre­vi­ous con­tract.

The con­trac­tor later filed for mu­tual wind­ing up of the con­tract in 2015 on ac­count that the bal­ance of funds to the con­tract sum was in­suf­fi­cient to com­plete the out­stand­ing works based on de­sign spec­i­fi­ca­tions. The re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and re­pair of Sh818.5 mil­lion Ka­soiyo- Saos- So­ci­ety Road is also fac­ing com­ple­tion chal­lenges. It was awarded to M/s Bridge­stone Con­struc­tion Com­pany Limited and was set to be com­pleted by Fe­bru­ary 2016, but it is still pend­ing to date.

“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.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, works val­ued at Sh504.8 mil­lion were as­signed to an­other con­trac­tor, Guangxi Hy­dro­elec­tric Con­struc­tion Bureau, an in­di­ca­tion that the main con­trac­tor’s per­for­mance was poor.

The Sh2.1 bil­lion con­struc­tion of Mu­rang’a- Gi­tugi and Njumbimioro Road is also fac­ing is­sues with Mr Ouko re­port­ing “un­sat­is­fac­tory” mat­ters. The pro­ject was awarded to M/s Ny­oro Com­pany Limited in July 2012 with the com­ple­tion date sup­posed to be in Fe­bru­ary 2015.

By June 30, 2017, the pro­ject was 47 per cent com­plete against an elapsed con­tract pe­riod of five years, an in­di­ca­tion that it is far be­hind sched­ule and could lead to es­ca­la­tion of costs.

Probeau­di­tor-gen­eral Ed­ward

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