NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 30 – It has now emerged that the apron buses that led to the sacking of Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Managing Director Lucy Mbugua were smuggled into the country.
KAA Director Kevin Kihara said the concessionaire did not pay the requisite duty to the Kenya Revenue Authority.
Kihara said one shuttle bus made by Portuguese manufacturer – Cobus Industries – costs about Sh45 million, according to copies of invoices and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) tax receipts.
“During our interdiction and disciplinary meeting, we as a board questioned and we have never got an explanatory answer as to why one of the tender documents had duty paid and the other did not. We were made to understand that Relief and Mission subsequently said that they would cover all duties and they would not refer back to KAA on the issue of duty,” he said.
Kihara added: “I would like to astound the members, and tell you that the apron buses that were delivered were smuggled into this country. This is from the Simba System in Kilindini which conforms that the five buses were not paid duty for.”
He has told the Parliamentary Transport Committee, that the sacked MD did not also get approval of the board in undertaking the project.
“These buses did not have a budget; we did not know how it would be paid for and indeed it was something that was being done at a level in which there would be no physical scrutiny not only at the board but widely. So what we are saying is, there was monkey business from the start,” Kihara stated.
KAA Chairman David Kimaiyo who terminated the contract told the committee that the concessionaire – Relief & Mission Logistics – had invoiced the authority some Sh42 million.
Mbugua was fired last week, alongside two other senior officials, including the General Manager of Finance, John Thumbi and the acting airport Engineer, Christopher Warutere.
The move came after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the arrest of those involved in the leasing of the five-ramp passenger buses at Sh10 million per month.
The buses whose tender approval was sought and granted in 2011 were acquired through an open tender later awarded to Relief & Mission Logistics at cost of $120,000 per month.
The need for the special buses was heightened after the airport design changed when remote stands were constructed following the August 2013 inferno. This meant that all international arrivals had to be bussed.
In the arrangement, KAA would charge the airlines for the use of the buses and any deficit between the collections and the amount payable to the concessionaire was to be financed by the authority from the budget provision of Sh75 million throughout the eight-year concession period.
House team chairman Maina Kamanda said they will also meet the Public Procurement Oversight Authority, Kenya Airways and the KAA Acting Finance Manager.
Late on Tuesday, Relief & Mission issued a statement denying any wrongdoing.
“KRA provided clearance and exemption for the buses vide the attached letter under 5th Schedule Part B, item, 1(b) (IV) of the EAC Customs Management Act,” a statement signed by John Kihoro said.
The KRA letter signed by B.N Chacha says: “You are therefore advised to allow clearance of the equipment on duty free basis.”