• China Communications Construction Company's parent company China Road and Bridge Corporation was found guilty of engaging in collusive practices
• Debarment had ended by the time the tender was awarded in October last year
Kenya Ports Authority MD Daniel Manduku has defended the parastatal against any wrongdoing in awarding the Sh40 billion Kipevu Oil Terminal tender.
On Tuesday, he told Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission investigators that the tender was aboveboard, having been awarded in compliance with the law.
It is reported that the Chinese firm that got the tender to build the Kipevu Oil Terminal had been blacklisted by the World Bank at the time the ports agency invited bids for the project in 2016.
China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) had been debarred from bidding for World Bank projects after its parent company, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), was found guilty of engaging in collusive practices in World Bank-funded projects in the Philippines.
KPA floated the tender on March 23, 2016, and 31 bidders from at least 15 countries showed interest.
The CRBC was blacklisted in 2009 for an eight-year period that ended on January 12, 2017.
Manduku said the debarment had ended by the time the tender was awarded in October last year. At the time, he was the acting KPA managing director after his predecessor, Catherine Mturi-Wairi, was removed from office.
“The debarment ended in 2017, whereas the tender was awarded in October 2018. Secondly, they were debarred from undertaking the construction of roads and bridges. We are a port facility. Therefore, the tender was awarded in accordance with the law,” Manduku told the EACC at its Mombasa offices.
He later told the Star that the CCCC started the project on February 15.
“I went there to set the records straight. There are no irregularities in the awarding of the tender. The contractor is, in fact, doing good work and he is ahead of schedule,” Manduku said.
He said KPA has yet to pay the firm since it started the work.
“We're yet to process the first payment certificate and they are doing a good job on the ground.”
The EACC is also investigating why the cost of the project increased from Sh15 billion to Sh25 billion, and then to Sh40 billion. Manduku, however, said the initial cost was Sh36 billion.
“According to the engineers’ estimates of 2016, the cost of the project was Sh36 billion. The tender was, however, awarded in 2018. Therefore, if you put into consideration the currency fluctuation because the tender was in dollars, and the Value-Added Tax, among other factors, the cost will definitely go up. We awarded the tender at Sh39 billion, a Sh3 billion difference from 2016,” he said.
The EACC has rounded the figure off to Sh40 billion because of the extra millions of shillings the project will incur.
Manduku becomes the last KPA official to be grilled by the EACC over the tender.
On April 10, former KPA boss Mturi-Wairi appeared before the commission.
Mturi-Wairi denied knowledge of how the tendering was done. By the time tender was awarded, she had left the organisation.
“I left towards the end of May last year and apparently the tender was in October. I have no idea what they want. Therefore, I can't say much.”
On April 4, the EACC grilled three senior KPA officials — Engineer Rashid Salim, Adza Dzengo and Geoffrey Kavete.
On April 5, Captain William Ruto, Engineer Dan Amadi, Margaret Shayo and Beatrice Ratemo were questioned. Captain Geoffrey Namadoa, Raymond Warr, Miguel Pires and William Tenay showed up on April 8, and Anthony Nyamacha and Yobesh Oyaro appeared on April 9.
(Edited by F'Orieny)