Suspended Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi has defended his decision to cancel two multi-million tenders by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), which are now the subject of a parliamentary probe.
Mr Kambi yesterday told the Public Investment Committee (PIC) of the National Assembly that when he came into office, he noticed anomalies in the manner the tendering for the two contracts was done and decided to terminate the process.
He said he had to terminate the tendering process for construction of 30,000 low-cost housing units in Mavoko and another tender for putting up a 28-storey hotel on Kenyatta Avenue, opposite Nyayo House, after he realised that such projects required Cabinet approval.
"The reason I cancelled and directed the same be tendered afresh was because I looked at the figures involved and realised they were both in excess of Sh5 billion, and thus required a Cabinet approval," Kambi said.
He said he did not cancel another contentious contract on Hazina Towers, which is also under probe, since a contract for the project had been signed under the watch of his predecessor, John Munyes, and then NSSF Managing Trustee Tom Odongo.
"However, I directed that a comprehensive audit be conducted by the Evaluation and Monitoring Unit on all other major projects which had been tendered and works commenced," Kambi told the PIC.
He said the Mavoko project was approved by the Cabinet, which changed the number of the housing units to be put up from 30,000 to 60,000.
However, he said the tenders for the projects had not been awarded or even opened.
Kambi also defended his decision to remove Central Organisation of Trade Union (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli from the NSSF Board of Trustees, saying the trade unionist had failed to attend nine consecutive meetings, which is against the law.
"I did not remove Atwoli because of age or any other consideration. It was based on a letter I received from the Board chairman, that he had not attended nine consecutive meetings," he said.
Kambi also told the Adan Keynan-led team that Attorney General Githu Muigai had advised him that Atwoli and the Federation of Kenya Employees representative at NSSF board Jacquiline Mugo were not eligible to be re-appointed to the board as they had served two terms.
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