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Kenya cancels airport deal

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – The government has revoked a decision by Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) to award little known airline OneJetOne the tender to refurbish and operate the old Embakasi Airport.

Transport Minister Ali Mwakwere said on Wednesday that he cancelled the contract when he realised that some new dimensions had been introduced into the new contract that were not there during the bidding stage.

“It’s an exercise that has collapsed. Its not that KAA did not follow regulations to the latter but because of some errors it had committed we cancelled the deal, which is part of our role as the ministry,” Mr Mwakwere said.

The Minister added that the government had no plans to advertise the tender again in the near future.

“The lucky thing is that we had not signed any contract and the matter has been closed,” he said.

Mr Mwakwere explained that the ministry had conducted a thorough search and realised that the company had previous dealings with Malaysia and Sri Lanka, which had gone sour.

“Kenya will not be used as an experimental ground on similar actions that failed totally elsewhere,” he stressed.

Mr Mwakwere admitted that KAA did give OneJetOne a letter of offer but the ministry stopped the signing of the contract.

Former KAA Managing Director George Muhoho previously defended the Authority from accusations that it had conducted the deal unprocedurally.

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Mr Muhoho was reacting to criticism levelled against KAA for awarding the tender to the new airline, which was licensed six months ago and is yet to start operations.

Previously, national carrier Kenya Airways had requested the Authority for use of the Embakasi Airport due to congestion at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and had argued that it should have been allocated the airport since it was the national carrier.

Consequently after receiving the letter of offer, Chief Executive of OneJetOne Arjun Ruzaik had announced plans to inject Sh2.4 billion in developing a budget terminal at the old airport.

The rehabilitation was set to start early next year and was expected to take another two years before completion.

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