, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 12 – Transport Minister Amos Kimunya has denied having interfered with the tendering process of the Sh56 billion new terminal project at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Kimunya said he never ordered the cancellation of the project adding that he does not even have the powers to interfere with the tendering process but can only step in at the contracting stage, not only for this project, but any project under his ministry whose worth is beyond Sh10 million.
Speaking before three parliamentary committees on Tuesday which included that on Transport, Budget and Finance, Kimunya said Prime Minister Raila Odinga is the one who advised the process be halted and told him to communicate to the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Board not to award any tender until approval from the Cabinet.
“The office of the Prime Minister had requested for a Cabinet brief and in the meantime KAA should not commit on contracting; those were my instructions contained in two official letters. Apart from this there has been no any other communication from myself either to KAA or anybody else on this, ” Kimunya said in defence during heated debate with members of the committees.
“The only communication I have had is my participation within Cabinet, which I am under no obligation to disclose,” Kimunya added.
He also told the committees that up to now he has not received any request from KAA to award anyone the tender or approve a financier which he said must be authorised by the ministry.
“But apparently we were shocked in February this year to hear that KAA management had already notified a Chinese company, Anhui Construction Limited that it had won the tender despite having briefed them what the PM had said,” Kimunya said.
Kimunya also denied being advised by the Attorney General to allow continuation of the process adding that the only advice he got is from the PM.
“The only communication I have had is my participation within Cabinet, which I am under no obligation to disclose”
“I am being told that I have cancelled the tender, that I have done ‘abcd’ and so on. So if we were to remove all the rumours from this room and stick to the facts, then we will now be making progress. I have been very quiet on this matter… I have been told all manner of innuendos and the AG never advised me, he adviced KAA,” said a visibly agitated Kimunya.
“You have been hanging on the PM to support the cancellation. If I were you, I would not have said what you have been telling us all through. Because as a committee we have received so much information and have enough documents and we will get proper interpretation of the law as we prepare our final report,” said Elias Mbau, the chairman of the Budget Committee.
Kimunya however told the committee that the project may kick off next year, after the process is complete, which he said with relevant stakeholders, will ensure it follows the right procedure.
MPs also questioned the role of another Chinese company said to have been denied the tender, after it presented its bid 30 minutes late.
“We have no clue about such an issue and those are just rumours as I had said before. The issue is that they have told you much but we are here to tell you the truth,” said transport Permanent Secretary Cyrus Njiru who had accompanied the minister.
Earlier, the KAA board told the committee that they cancelled the tender after they realised that the bidding process was not competitive, but never mentioned that the PM had ordered so.