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House watchdog committee halts JKIA takeover

MPs queried the why the Kenya Airports Authority decided to award the contract through restricted tender citing that they had given conflicting reasons/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – The Parliamentary Public Investments Committee has ordered the suspension of the award a Sh150million contract to a transaction advisor in the takeover bid for Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by Kenya Airways.

Committee Chairman Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita) said halting the process will allow them to investigate the matter as well as facilitate time for the Auditor General to carry out forensic audit of the procurement process of the contract.

MPs queried the why the Kenya Airports Authority decided to award the contract through restricted tender citing that they had given conflicting reasons.

The airports management agency CEO Johnny Andersen had initially claimed that they resorted to the single sourcing because there was no other body which could perform the task.

Andersen told the Committee that KAA was not privy to the discussions on the merger between the two entities.

MPs Raphael Wanjala (Budalangi), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay County Woman Rep) and Rashid Amin (Wajir East) claimed that the proposal came from KQ with recommendations from ‘the highest office in the land.’

The Committee will on Tuesday meet with Principal Secretaries Alex Maringa and Esther Koimett so that they confirm if the JKIA takeover proposal stems from a Cabinet memo.

The duo separately in June and October last year wrote to KAA instructing them to fast track the takeover in order to salvage business for the national carrier.

“KAA wants to be part of solution to ensure the Kenya does not miss out on the strategic aviation dominance,” the agency stated even as MPs Chris Wamalwa and Amin demand that the two PSs produce the Cabinet memo that initiated the talks on the takeover.

The Committee wanted to know why KAA management pushed on with the matter even after their own lawyers cautioned the Board that the merger was a bad deal.

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Despite this, Transport PS Koimett apparently directed KAA to finalize the merger as soon as possible and this resulted in the direct procurement of the advisory firm.

Andersen refuted the allegations from MPs that KAA wrote to the ministry with a proposal to initiate the takeover.

“I did not see the Cabinet memo and when I requested if I could see a copy of it I was told that Cabinet memos are always confidential,” he noted.

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