• The project was initially designed to cost Sh1.7 billion but ended up costing over Sh2.2 billion, a variation of more than Sh500 million.
• Pkosing said they are trying to find the justifications for the variations on behalf of Kenyans.
Kenya Maritime Authority officials and their Public Works counterparts were forced to take oath during a cross-examination by MPs at the KMA headquarters in Mombasa on Tuesday.
This was after the officials appeared to give contradictory statements when answering questions from the MPs.
The officials, including KMA managing director Martin Munga, were being quizzed over the variation of the cost of building KMA Towers in Mbaraki.
The project was initially designed to cost Sh1.7 billion but ended up costing over Sh2.2 billion, a variation of more than Sh500 million.
The members of the National Assembly Public Investment Committee on Commercial Affairs and Energy, led by their chairman David Pkosing (Pokot South MP), had started getting agitated with the contradictory statements when two of them suggested the administration of the oath.
Laikipia East MP Mwangi Kiunjuri and his Eldas counterpart Adan Keynan said they had been vindicated when Munga issued a disclaimer before taking oath, saying some of the amounts quoted in the Auditor General’s report had not been paid yet.
“You see! That is the power of the oath,” Keynan said.
Pkosing said they are trying to find the justifications for the variations on behalf of Kenyans.
“Of course we are looking for value for money,” the Pokot South MP said.
The KMA officials appeared to have been caught unawares during the questioning with crucial documents missing.
This forced them to send someone to fetch the documents.
However, an official of the authority told the Star the MPs had almost changed the schedule.
“Today, we expected to just show them around so they could physically tour the building. We did not expect them to ask questions about the books, which was scheduled for tomorrow [Wednesday],” the official said.
That explained the missing documents and other paperwork.
Pkosing said, “We have gone through with KMA from morning. And now we want to see with our eyes and then tomorrow, we look at the documentation between the Auditor General and the KMA responses.”
KMA said some of the issues that led to the variation include stabilisation of the foundation of the 17-floor building.
“That included things like piling, stabilisation of the soil, protection of the foundation among other issues,” Pkosing said.
KMA said some residents neighbouring the KMA Towers had to be relocated so their houses are not affected when the stabilisation was being done.
Pkosing said more information will be revealed when they cross-examine KMA’s books on Wednesday, after which they will give their recommendations.
The Pokot South MP said Munga, who is only six weeks in office, may not have had a good grasp of the issues involved because he was not around when they were being done.
The Auditor General’s queries were from the 2018-19 fiscal year.
He said they might be summoning former managing director John Omingo, who acted in the capacity for 18 months before Munga took over from him.
“After we examine the books, we will decide whether there will be need for him to appear before us. But he should be prepared. If there were any wrongdoings, we will have to bring him here,” Pkosing said.