Scandals that have rocked Jubilee administration


NSSF’s Tassia II and Hazina Towers projects (Sh13bn)

On January 1, Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli called a press conference where he accused acting NSSF boss Richard Lang’at of irregularly implementing an estate improvement project in Tassia II.

Mr Atwoli charged that the Sh5.053 billion scheme had not been endorsed by a formal board meeting and hence has to be stopped.

The project in question is about plots the Fund bought in 1994, which were later invaded by 5,500 squatters. As a compromise, NSSF proposed that the residents pay Sh2.5 billion as compensation.

In 2011, the fund decided to improve roads and sewer system of the estate. In this deal, each plot owner was to pay Sh650,000 for a total of Sh3.3 billion bill to be charged by the contractors.

Mr Atwoli claimed the NSSF CEO approved the venture without authorisation from the Finance, Social Security and Investments Committee and without a formal board meeting.

Cotu, which represents workers on the board, accuses the Fund of circulating a misleading memo by the board approving Sh5.053 billion, to be drawn from workers’ contributions.

The Fund is also on the spot for allegedly picking only one contractor, China Jiangsi International Kenya Ltd for most of its contracts.

Railway tender deal (Sh425 billion)

The railway was supposed to be constructed to ease the movement of goods from the Mombasa port to Malaba and on to other countries. But controversy has raged since the project was launched late last year.

At the centre of the scandal is a Chinese company, China Road and Bridges Corporation, which was awarded the contract, and how the firm got that deal. The exact cost remains a mystery although figures have been bundled here and there.

The Chinese firm negotiated the financing terms based on the Sh375.8 billion Chinese loan. The tender was not competitive. Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich told a National Assembly committee that Kenya would pay China Sh120 billion as a shield from possible default or currency value changes.

That means the rail project will actually cost more. The loan will be repaid at a two per cent interest over the next two decades, a higher charge than most international financiers.

Deputy President William Ruto has previously said the cost will be about Sh160 billion from Mombasa to Nairobi.

Laptops (Sh22 billion)

The laptops project was Jubilee’s key priority during the campaigns in its pledge to further free education to children.

The programme was set for implementation shortly after the 2014 school calendar started, targeting 1.28 million pupils. But children must now wait longer, perhaps up to next term to see the gadgets.

The first tender was cancelled after all bidders quoted more than triple the initial Sh9.7 billion allocated for the first phase. American firm HP was the lowest bidder in the first tender with a bid of Sh28.7 billion while Shen Zhen Auto Digital quoted Sh30.3 billion and Mastec placed two bids quoting Sh32.6 billion in one and Sh31.3 billion in the other. The government decided to re-advertise.

The second opportunity proved similarly uncertain despite tougher rules for bidders.

Ghost workers (Sh1.8 billion)

The government has always argued that the current wage bill, which has been absorbing more than half of the national budget, should be lowered. But it turned out last week that about Sh2 billion a year of it has been going to non-existent employees.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last week revealed that an initial audit in eight ministries found evidence that several officers said to be on secondment are dead, retired or have deserted their duties but still ‘earning’ salaries.




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