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De La Rue speaks out on Khalwale report

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 2- Currency printing firm De La Rue has once again defended itself over the allegations of overcharging the government to produce bank notes between 2007 and 2011 which cost the taxpayer close to Sh2.8billion.

On Wednesday a report by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) claimed that De La Rue charged the government close to Sh5.6 billion to print 1.49 billion pieces of banknotes in short term contracts after the then Finance minister Amos Kimunya cancelled a three-year deal to print 1.71 billion pieces of banknotes at a cost of Sh3.8 billion.

The committee found out that De La Rue was overcharging the government saying that when the money-printing contract was put to competitive bidding the firm bid lower.

Reacting to the report, the Ruaraka-based company welcomed PAC’s approval of a joint venture with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) which was intended by the government in 2006.

“This will secure the jobs of the 260 skilled Kenyan workers employed at the factory in Ruaraka. It should not be forgotten that the De La Rue’s Kenyan operation currently contributes over Sh1 billion annually to the Kenyan economy in the form of salaries, taxes and the purchase of goods and services, “ said Rob Hutchison, the company’s Director of Communications.

De La Rue says it has injected over Sh5 billion into the Kenyan economy, a benefit that would have been lost if production of the new generation notes was to be undertaken abroad.

“One of the conditions associated with joint venture is a long term agreement to print the Kenyan banknotes at the factory to ensure its economic viability and thus its contribution to the Kenyan economy,” said Hutchison.

PAC wants Parliament to approve a resolution that Kimunya and CBK governor Professor Njuguna Ndung’u are unfit to hold public office, claiming that they allowed the short term contract to continue; while aware it was unreasonably expensive for the taxpayer.

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