EXPERT COMMENT

Open Kisumu mall, deal with graft suspects

In Summary

•We recommended that the findings should be investigated further.

A file photo of EACC headquarters in Nairobi.
A file photo of EACC headquarters in Nairobi.
Image: FILE

I had the privilege of serving in the Public Investments Committee and part of the discussion was on the construction of the Lake Basin Development Authority mall. What struck us as members of the committee was that the cost was doubled under dubious circumstances.

We recommended that the findings should be investigated further. The ongoing investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), notwithstanding how long it takes, should not stop the opening of the mall. The longer the mall takes to open, the more opportunities we are losing in terms of creating wealth, employment, among other enterprises.

This is a facility that has installations that stand to employ dozens of locals directly and hundred others indirectly through the business value chain. That opportunity will not come back if we don’t move fast enough to make the premises available for use. I would like to state that whoever is in charge should give a green light for the mall to be opened and the investigations to be completed as fast as possible.

We are more than glad that the authorities seized of the issues that had emerged in the process of putting up the building. And on this, if anybody will be found guilty of any misconduct, they should be prosecuted without further delay. However, stopping operations just because of a few elements would be an injustice to Kenyans who want value for money from the property.

Even as the information on the delayed opening remains unclear, we must be cognizant of the fact that the longer a building takes before it is used after construction, the more it deteriorates. This is one situation that we have resolved to change as leaders, hence our push for the EACC team to move with speed.

Being that we are in a region that is straining on matters economic development, we cannot afford to wait any longer for Lake Basin Authority. This has been evident in the pressure by locals, the civil society, and the Kisumu county leadership. Obviously, such a magnificent block can only make sense once put to use.

The Kisumu West MP spoke to the Star