, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22 – A parliamentary probe into the controversial standard gauge railway tender was told on Wednesday that the Chinese firm that was awarded the contract has been blacklisted by the World Bank due to claims of fraud.
Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter told the Public Investments Committee that China Roads and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) was banned from World Bank projects in 2009 and is due for review in January 2017.
“As a company, its capacity and integrity is under a lot of question; the World Bank has already blacklisted them over a road construction in the Philippines,” he said.
Keter provided a copy of the letter which committee chairman Adan Keynan said would need confirmation of authenticity before it is admitted as evidence produced before the House team.
The first-time MP who was accompanied his lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi further claimed that Transport Secretary Michael Kamau misled the committee and the nation when he said that the Chinese are opposed to a competitive tendering process.
He cited two previous projects done by Chinese companies which were sourced through a competitive process after Joseph Kinyua, during his tenure as Finance Permanent Secretary, insisted that the Kenya procurement law requires competitive procurement for any government project.
“That was Kamau’s deceit, if he insists that it was a condition by the Chinese, he should give us documentary evidence to that effect, that the Chinese were requested to allow for competitive funding on this contract and they refused,” said the Nandi Hills MP.
On several occasions during the sitting, Keter had to deny questions from the committee that he was a ‘hired gun’ being used by dissatisfied entities who had lost out on the deal.
“That question is better answered by those who are calling me a broker, because I don’t see how brokering comes in when I raise an alarm about the impropriety of this issue,” Keter said.
Keter was also put to task over his assertion that the total cost of the projects is likely to be Sh1.3 trillion. The MP clarified that his estimates include the second phase project where the line will go from Nairobi to Malaba.
He told the committee that an initial feasibility study report by CRBC had not given the costing for this part of the project because it said they expected the cost to go higher when it gets to the Rift Valley where they will come against challenges.
“That is why the cost has kept changing with everyone who has come here. (Treasury Secretary) Rotich was here yesterday (Tuesday) and he gave the figure of Sh447.5 billion, Kamau himself came (on Monday) he told you Sh327 billion,” he said.