Delays in completion of Parliament offices costing taxpayers - auditor

The building has cost taxpayers approximately Sh8 billion, a figure the Auditor General says might increase.

In Summary

• The office block has been under construction for the last 10 years.

• Last year, Wetang'ula said the complex was ready - three months later it is yet to be occupied.

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu.
Auditor General Nancy Gathungu.
Image: FILE

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has flagged delays in the completion of the Parliament’s 28-storey office block, saying contract extensions come at a huge cost to taxpayers.

According to the 2021-22 audit report, Parliament spent Sh381 million in paying rents for members’ offices. The auditor said the money would have been saved had the office complex been completed as per the schedule.

The auditor said the cost of the building might shoot owing to the accumulating interests as a result of delays in paying the contractor.

The building has cost taxpayers approximately Sh8 billion, a figure the Auditor General is saying might increase.

“The contractor had sought the services of an arbitrator over a dispute to determine when to start charging interest on delayed payments and payment certificates rates/ratios of 80:20 in US dollars and Kenya shillings, which may increase the total cost of the project significantly,” the auditor reports.

The building has been under construction for the past decade with the completion deadline being pushed a number of times.

Initially, the construction of the building was estimated to take 42 months from July 1, 2014 to 31 December, 2017.

The project has however been granted three extensions, with the latest being in November last year but still remains incomplete.

“Review of the contract documents revealed that the contractor was granted first, second and third extensions of time varying the completion date to January 16, 2018, August 23, 2020 and November 30, 2021, respectively,” the audit report reads.

“However, as at the time of audit inspection in November 2022, the construction of the office block had not been completed.”

“Delay in completing construction of the multi-storey office block building may result in the escalation of total costs in the long run due to inflation.

As a result of the delays, Parliament has been forced to lease offices for MPs who miss space in Parliament.

The office complex has four basement parking floors, a reception floor, 24 committee rooms, 338 offices for MPs, a health club, a restaurant, an open garden and service floor.

“Due to non-compliance of the project, the Parliamentary Joint Services paid rent amounting to Sh381,390,606 for the leased offices during the year under review,” Gathungu said in her report.

In November last year, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula announced the office block was to be occupied in a week’s time, something that has not happened three months later.

According to Wetang'ula, who also chairs the Parliamentary Service Commission, National Assembly members were to occupy 280 of the 331 offices available in the building.

"In order to ensure that members occupy the offices immediately they are handed over, I have directed the clerk to prepare the schedule of allocation of the 280 offices being equitable share of the apportioned to the National Assembly, regrettably around 63 members of this House will not be accommodated in the new office block,” he said on November 1, 2022.

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