, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – The Ministry of Public Works has now shifted blame to the Judiciary over the crumbling Milimani Law Courts, saying judicial staff are to blame for the damages to the “ultra modern” building.
Works Minister Chris Obure said on Thursday that the building had been in perfect condition when the contractor – NK Brothers Construction Company – handed it over earlier this year.
He now says the Judiciary had hired a new contractor, who had started fresh works on the building and who was to blame for some of the defects.
Obure added that all the elevators as well as the CCTV (Closed Circuit television) surveillance system were functional at the time of the hand over. He said that the new contractor could have interfered with the operations of the CCTV as well as damaged the ceiling.
“The Chief Justice was told that there was a door that had been destroyed and that the building was flooding but maybe he was not told of the new contractor and I understand his frustrations,” he countered.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga took journalists on a tour of the facility on Tuesday during which he complained of the shoddy works on the building that took eight years to rehabilitate.
But Minister Obure now says his Ministry had even judicial staff for a special training on how to operate and manage the building so as to prevent damages but the Judiciary was yet to respond.
“I’m informed by my officers that when an inspection was carried out, huge obstructions like paper bags and cans were found in the drainage system. When such things are dumped in the drainage, of course they will block it,” he argued.
He also came to the defence of NK Brothers Contractors saying it had won a number of projects and all of them had been adjudged to be of high standards.
He revealed that the private company had also been charged with conducting works on the new Teachers’ Service Commission headquarters in Upper Hill as well as a National Hospital Insurance Fund building and one for the National Social Security Fund without any qualms.
“I believe that NK Brothers were awarded this contract based on competence. We are in charge of all the contractors and I don’t believe he is one of the worst. He has not been black listed by this ministry; in fact he is doing another project for us in Westlands,” quipped Obure.
He added that NK Brothers Contractors would be recalled to rectify any underlying issues, if the Judiciary was still interested although it has already contracted a new contractor.
Obure explained that his ministry would release all the contracting documents including the initial building designs to the new contractors. He also said that the costs of the new contraction works would be met by the Judiciary.
“I don’t know much about the second contractor but they (Judiciary) will pay him. But just for the record, NK Brothers has not been discharged from this assignment because we had a defects’ liability agreement in our contract and we still hold him liable,” he said.
He further expressed his disapproval of government bodies contracting independent contractors saying it was risky.