, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 1 – An audit done by the Ministry of Finance into the purchase of a chancery and ambassador’s residence in Tokyo has concluded that the Kenyan government indeed got value for money.
The audit into the Sh1.43 billion deal was carried out to review the integrity of the processes and procedures followed in the procurement of the property.
The audit report says the property in Meguro-Ku, Tokyo was initially being sold for ¥5.5 billion in the year 2000, but eventually dropped to ¥1.75 billion (Sh1.43 billion) following negotiations with the family that sold it.
In addition, it says the private property was better compared to another offered by the Japanese government.
“Although the Japanese government had offered for sale a plot at Minami-Azabu (700.39m2 @¥1.307 billion Japanese Yen) to the Kenyan mission, the audit team notes that its size was half the property at Meguro-Ku (1,431.28m2@¥1.75 billion),” the report seen by Capital News states.
“The land is located at Meguro-Ku where there are 15 other Embassies; Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Poland, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan etc. The Embassy is surrounded by a good road network and is 50 meters from Meguro Dori, one of the major roads in Tokyo.”
The report says the decision to buy the property from the family which was renting it to the Kenyan government ended up saving the government approximately ¥51 million every year in rent.
The report prepared by the Ministry of Finance affirms that the necessary provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act were complied with in the purchase of the property.
The audit team observed that contrary to assertions, there is no provision in Japanese law that renders a building valueless after 20 years for concrete houses and 10 years for timber houses. “Indeed, there are several buildings which are more than 50 years old in Japan e.g. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while the Palace is over 200 years old.”
The purchase of the property in Meguro-Ku has been at the center of a row between the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Relations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs following accusations that Kenya may have lost money in the deal.
The parliamentary committee chaired by Wajir West MP Adan Keynan has suggested that Kenya may have bought the Tokyo property for more than it was worth.
The property is however not new to controversy. On February 13, this year at about 5.30 pm, the ambassador’s residence was destroyed in a fire. Japanese police kept off the probe after ruling out arson or terrorism leaving it to Kenyan authorities to deal with the matter internally.
The audit report says Kenyan authorities should now undertake complete investigations to determine the cause of the fire which gutted the ambassador’s residence and establish whether there was negligence.
The report concludes that the mission should enhance the embassy’s security by fixing CCTV’s, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.