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Senator wants lifestyle audit done on Kenha bosses

They accuse road agency of overseeing construction of substandard roads.

In Summary

• Were wants the nine-member panel to initiate a probe on allegations of procurement irregularities and governance malpractices at Kenha.

• Kenha corporate and communication director Charles Njogu said the authority would respond to the accusations once it properly receives them.

Kenya National Highways Authority director general Peter Mundinia at the launch of private public partnership project launch in Nairobi on November 7, 2016.
Kenya National Highways Authority director general Peter Mundinia at the launch of private public partnership project launch in Nairobi on November 7, 2016.
Image: ENOS TECHE

A senator has asked a Senate committee to petition the anti-graft body to conduct a compulsory lifestyle audit on the top management of the Kenya National Highways Authority.

Nominated Senator Petronilla Were also wants the Senate Roads and Transportation committee to invite the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to probe allegations of tribalism and nepotism at the agency.

This comes amid reports that top officers at Kenha are being investigated by the Assets Recovery Agency over suspect cash flows in their accounts.

In her statement, Were wants the nine-member panel to initiate a probe on allegations of procurement irregularities and governance malpractices at Kenha.

“The committee should establish whether or not Kenha followed the procurement procedures as outlined in the Public Procurement laws in the awarding of a tender for the construction of the Webuye-Kakamega Rd Kenha/R6/181/2020,” the senator said.

The statement was directed at the committee chaired by Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi.

“Expand their investigation to all the tenders awarded in the last three years with the aim to unearth other massive irregularities in the recent past,” she added.

Kenha corporate and communication director Charles Njogu said the authority would respond to the accusations once it properly receives them.

“I cannot answer to allegations I have not seen. We run as a professional organisation. We don’t fight our wars in the media; we engage professionally. It has not come to our attention. Once it comes to our attention, we will be able to engage,” he told the Star.

Were’s allegations come hot on the heels of a heated debate on the floor last week where lawmakers criticised Transport, Kenha and other roads agencies for failing to supervise contractors thereby leading to substandard, stalled and incomplete projects.

The senators claimed that despite billions of shillings spent on mega infrastructure projects, some of them had developed cracks and while others are in sorry states, barely two years after their completion.

They called for a complete audit of all the infrastructure projects undertaken by President Kenyatta’s administration since it was elected.

“When you look at the issue of most of the projects that have been undertaken in the country, there has been inadequate oversight by the relevant agencies,” Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei claimed.

“It is sad that the cowboy contractors that were famous in the yesteryears are now on the loose,” he added.

According to Cherargei, Kenha, which is responsible for the development, rehabilitation, management and maintenance of all national trunk roads, has not been maintaining their roads.

Kitui Senator Enock Wambua said some projects had either stalled or are incomplete because proper feasibility study was not carried out before the construction commenced.

According to him, it would serve the country better if proper feasibility studies are carried out before construction commences so that Kenyans get value for their money. 

“It is appalling to hear that less than two years after billions of shillings were sunk into it, it has cracks and landslides are blocking some sections of it,” he said of the Dongo Kundu bypass.

Machakos Senator Boniface Kabaka apportioned  the big blame on Kenyan engineers, especially civil, structural and mechanical engineers, whom he claimed issue certification for completion of these roads.

Kabaka has also proposed that the Penal Code be amended, so that criminal liability be preferred against errant professional engineers and associate professionals.

“They will not only be surcharged but also face a stiff penalty of even 50 years and above,” Kabaka said during the debate last week.

Edited by Henry Makori