Uhuru projects freeze: How millions were lost in abandoned contracts


Uhuru projects freeze: How millions were lost in abandoned contracts
President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre where he addressed a meeting bringing together all government accounting officers including Principal Secretaries, Parastatal Heads, Vice Chancellors of Public Universities and Chairmen of State Corporations on July 20, 2018. PHOTO| PSCU

In Summary

  • Thirteen years ago in October 2005 the Ministry of Defence contracted Capital Construction Company to put up 144 three bed-roomed houses at the Kenyatta Barracks in Gilgil.
  • The contract was to cost Ksh.346 million and was to be completed on two years time. But that was never to be and the completion date was extended to June 2009.
  • Over the years, the exchequer has been releasing financing for projects but weak monitoring and evaluation mechanisms by government agencies have cost the taxpayer value for money and timely completion.

Over the last five years, the Auditor General has been flagging projects which guzzle down public funds but never get completed. So what triggered President Uhuru Kenyatta’s latest order against new government projects?

Thirteen years ago in October 2005 the Ministry of Defence contracted Capital Construction Company to put up 144 three bed-roomed houses at the Kenyatta Barracks in Gilgil.

The contract was to cost Ksh.346 million and was to be completed on two years time. But that was never to be and the completion date was extended to June 2009.

Even then, the contractor could not meet his end of the bargain and the ministry had to cancel the contract having paid Ksh.297 million of the cost despite the completion rate being 61 percent.

Another company was contracted to implement the remainder of the project upon revisions at an extra cost of Ksh.660 million. That raised the cost of a project that should have cost Ksh.346 million 13 years ago to almost a billion, at Ksh.957 million.

At the same barracks, a contract to put up a food processing factory was signed at Ksh.459 million in March 2015.

Another tender worth Ksh.30 million was awarded to the same contractor for civil works, it was to be completed in December 2015. Six months later upon review, the contractor had abandoned the site. 73 percent of the second contract had already been paid out.

The Ministry of Defence awarded another contract for equipping of the factory at a cost of Ksh.373 million. As of June 2016 no equipment had been delivered according to the Auditor General’s report.

At the Embakasi Garrison, a Ksh.316 million worth contract was awarded in March 2013 for the construction of accommodation units. It should have been concluded by March 2014 more than two years later, Ksh.265 million or 84 percent of the contract sum had been paid out, yet the project delivery was delayed.

At the Education Ministry, a Ksh.428 million contract was awarded in 2014 for construction of various facilities at eight technical institutions. Despite an agreed completion period of two years, all contracts were behind schedule by the time of review by the Auditor General. Ksh.294 million had already been paid out.

At the sports docket, Olenguruone stadium in Nakuru County was to be constructed at a cost of Ksh.290 million. That was in November 2012. Four years later, there was nothing to show but an abandoned sight and Ksh.73 million of taxpayer’s money already paid out.

The Judiciary too fell victim. A contract worth Ksh.814 million was signed in September 2013 for the construction of Lodwar court facilities. It should have taken 18 months but as of 2016, the project had stalled at 27.7 percent completion. The judiciary had already released Ksh.124 million by then.

More and more projects have been flagged by the auditor general every other year. Emerging issues being of rogue contractors who abandon projects midway, while some review terms of contract.

Eventually, funds are lost with a government that is embroiled in hundreds of projects losing track. But the president feels it’s time that stopped.

“There will be no new projects that will be started until you conclude and complete the projects that have already began,” said President Kenyatta.

He was addressing all government accounting officers, including Principal Secretaries, Parastatal Heads, Vice Chancellors of Public Universities and Chairmen of State Corporations during a meeting at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi.

Over the years, the exchequer has been releasing financing for projects but weak monitoring and evaluation mechanisms by government agencies have cost the taxpayer value for money and timely completion.

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Story By Sam Gituku
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