Matiang'i: Complete projects or expose State officials who took bribes

ICT CS Joe Mucheru walks into Harambee House where Internal CS Fred Matiangi summoned all Cabinet Secretaries. [Elvis Ogina/Standard]
Contractors behind stalled projects have been ordered to complete them in 90 days or name the Government officials they bribed if that is the reason for questionable contract sum variations.

The directive was the first order of business for a committee of all Cabinet secretaries chaired by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i yesterday at Harambee House in Nairobi.

“The meeting focused on two key issues. Massive sweep on contractors who have stalled projects and projects where applications for contracts variations are the reason for stalling,” said a source present at the meeting.

The source reported that Dr Matiang’i was categorical that either the contractors exposed the people they paid bribes “or they go in”.

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“Most contractors of multi-billion shilling projects can’t move because they were fleeced by unscrupulous Government officials,” the source quoted the meeting as being told.

Ministries will compile lists of all the projects to be completed in three months and those to be probed.

It was the first full meeting of the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee since President Uhuru issued the executive order. The committee, chaired by Dr Matiang’i and Treasury CS Henry Rotich as his deputy, “received and appraised implementation plans for national government development programmes and projects”.

“The committee identified the challenges constraining effective execution and delivery and will provide a weekly report to the President with recommendations on how to address them,” read an official statement after the meeting.

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and Attorney General Kihara Kariuki and all CSs, except one, were in attendance.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma, who was in Djibout on official duty, was not present at the meeting that began at 7.30am and lasted five hours.

The inaugural Cabinet committee sought to streamline multi-billion shilling projects in various ministries in line with President Uhuru’s Big Four agenda.

“Everybody was given an opportunity to outline all projects and programmes, their present status, timelines for completion and those stalled,” another source explained.

The meeting emphasised priority and value for money, which saw some projected suspended.

The ministries of Water and Irrigation, Agriculture and Infrastructure were on the spot for stalled projects. They are headed by Simon Chelugui, Mwangi Kiunjuri and James Macharia respectively.

There was a feeling that the stalled projects were giving the Government a bad image.

The resolutions of the meeting will be communicated to the counties, where officials will be asked to explain the status of the projects.

Last week, President Kenyatta warned some of his Cabinet members against politicking and resisting the committee chaired by Matiang’i.

According to Executive Order Number 1 of 2019 signed in Mombasa on January 21, Matiang’i will report to the President.

Powerful role

In his new powerful role, Matiang’i will provide supervisory leadership throughout the delivery circle of all national government programmes and projects.

He will also receive and deliberate on reports from the National Development Implementation Technical Committee and provide timely guidance on appropriate measures to address challenges constraining effective implementation and delivery of the projects.

Matiang’i will also monitor and evaluate follow-up mechanisms for resources allocated for the projects to ensure proper utilisation and realisation of the targeted outcome.

He will also provide coordinated strategic communication to the public and other stakeholders on the progress of the projects.

The CS will prepare accurate and timely progress reports for presentation to the President and perform other functions ancillary to the mentioned functions and as directed by the President.

The President said that for efficient coordination and administration of national government development programmes and projects in the republic and for proper discharge of executive authority in the nation, there was a need to establish implementing and coordinating committees at various levels.

These include the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee, the National Development Implementation Technical Committee, eight regional development implementation coordination committees and those of the 47 counties.

The President said there was a need to foster greater coordination and harmonisation in the implementation of national government development programmes and projects under the Medium Term Plan Three with focus on the Big Four agenda.

“It is necessary to issue a presidential executive order to provide for the framework for facilitating effective oversight, coordination, implementation, administration and supervision of Government development programmes and projects,” the President explained.

He added that it was the duty of the State to ensure reasonable access to all public goods and services in all parts of the country.

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stalled projectsCabinet secretariesInterior CS Matiangi