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Chinese firm in Standard Gauge Railway probe not incorporated in Kenya, PS Nduva Muli says

By PAUL WAFULA | Published Thu, February 6th 2014 at 00:00, Updated February 5th 2014 at 22:41 GMT +3
Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli

By PAUL WAFULA

NAIROBI, KENYA: The Chinese company contracted to build the Sh447.5 billion Standard Gauge Railway line between Mombasa and Nairobi is not incorporated in Kenya but has a registered office, Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli has said.

Mr Muli was responding to Parliament’s Public Investment Committee (PIC), which is probing the railway saga. He, however, did not provide the names of the company’s directors.

He told PIC that China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) was formally established in 1979 as China Road and Bridge Engineering Company (CRBEC) but entered the Kenyan market in 1984, when it registered a local branch office with the same name.

“In 1991, due to expanding business, CRBEC was restructured into a group and named China Road and Bridge Corporation.

In 1996, the Registrar of Companies approved the change of name to CRBC, aligning it with the parent company,” Muli, who was appearing in his capacity as a former managing director of Kenya Railways, said.

But probed further to present documents used in the registration by PIC, Muli was armed only with a letter from the Registrar of Companies confirming the change of name to CRBC and a registration certificate.

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“China Road and Bridge Corporation has over 30 years of civil construction experience in Kenya, where it has undertaken projects such as the construction of Berth 19 at the port of Mombasa, the Southern and Northern bypass and the Mtito Andei-Bachuma Gate road construction, among others,” Muli said.

The revelation comes days after it emerged that the CRBC file had gone missing at the Registrar of Companies after Parliament wanted to unmask the faces behind the company. 

Parliament has been pursuing a theory that CRBC Kenya may have one or more directors that are not Chinese in a bid to uncover the much-talked about brokers. MPs also want to know who the local shareholders are, if they exist.

Muli explained that in 2005, CRBC and China Harbour Engineering Company merged to form China Communications Construction Group (CCCG). 

He said this saw CRBC registered again by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce on December 8, 2005.

Wednesday, Muli was hard-pressed to explain his sudden change of heart after he was appointed the Principal Secretary given that he had dismissed the free feasibility study done by CRBC as having not returned a commercially viable project.

Muli maintained that most of the issues he had raised were part of a process to ensure Kenyans got value for money and that CRBC had responded satisfactorily to them or had arrived at a compromise to save costs.


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