Kenya Airport Authority out to recover money that had been paid out

An artistic impression of the greenfield terminal.
The differences between members of the grand coalition government over the failed Sh64 billion Greenfield Terminal at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport were revealed yesterday.

And two governors were summoned to appear before a watchdog committee to shed light on why the tender was finally cancelled.

Correspondences tabled before the National Assembly Public Investment Committee (PIC) yesterday showed how the office of then Prime Minister Raila Odinga had expressed reservations over Kenya Airports Authority’s (KAA) ability to undertake the multi-billion project without guaranteed funding.

Through former Permanent Secretary Mohammed Isahakia, Raila also said the project had not been approved by the Cabinet, as would have been expected of an undertaking of such magnitude.

Dr Isahakia, in a letter, also raised concern on the unavailability of money to finance the project, further telling KAA that a project of such magnitude required massive mobilisation of resources from all areas of the Government.

The then Transport PS Cyrus Njiru had also written to KAA, asking them not to execute the project without having a clear source of finances.

Mr Njiru, in another letter in November 2011, told KAA that the two firms they had chosen did not have the capacity to finance the project.

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But in yet another letter tabled before the committee yesterday, then Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia told the authority it would be in bad taste to the Cabinet if KAA cancelled the tender, advocating the project.

Mr Kimemia, who is now Nyandarua Governor, and his Embu counterpart Martin Wambora had been summoned by PIC to shed light on the controversies that led to the termination of the project.

This was after several of their correspondences over the tender were tabled before the committee yesterday.

Mr Wambora was chairing the KAA board. 

KAA Managing Director Johnny Andersen yesterday revealed correspondences indicating Wambora, on two occasions, calling for the cancellation of the tender.

The committee, chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, expressed concern that despite the public paying more than Sh4 billion to the two Chinese companies that won the tender, the project failed despite the much publicised and hyped ground-breaking ceremony presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“All the money is gone and only grass is on the field. Had we listened to the concerns raised by the office of the Prime Minister then, we couldn’t have been here now,” Mr Nassir said.

The contract awarded by KAA in 2013 to Anhui Construction Engineering Group Ltd in a joint venture with China Aero-Technology International Engineering Corporation to build new Greenfield Terminal Package 5 at a cost of Sh64,745,354,325 was terminated on March 9, 2016.

According to Auditor General Edward Ouko, by the time the tender was cancelled, the Chinese contractors had been paid Sh4.3 billion, yet there was no evidence of any work having been done.

Groundbreaking ceremony

Some Sh75 million was spent on the groundbreaking ceremony.

Consultants were paid Sh129 million and another Sh7 million paid to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

KAA terminated the contract on grounds the contract was void from the beginning.

KAA subsequently asked Anhui to vacate the site.

Nassir yesterday said the cancellation of the project made KAA vulnerable to litigation.

Meanwhile, Andersen told the committee the authority had already started negotiations with the contractor on how to recover the billions that had already been paid out.

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Kibaki regimeKenya Airport AuthorityRecover money