Mystery of Sh124m eyesore in Kapsabet

The proposed Nandi County Government offices in Kapsabet town. [Kevin Tunoi, Standard]

In Kapsabet town,  there lies an incomplete three-storey office complex that was supposed to house the county administration.

But the Sh124 million building, whose construction started in February 2014 during the administration of former governor Cleophas Lagat, is yet to be complete.

By the end of the 2017-18 financial year, the county had paid a local construction firm Sh98 million.

However, the building, which is located 30 metres from the Eldoret-Kapsabet road, has been abandoned for the last five years.

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What remains is a public eyesore that has forced Nandi Governor Stephen Sang and members of the executive to share space with the county commissioner in the offices of the defunct Nandi County Council.

Paul Kiplimo, a resident of Kabsabet town, said he was surprised the county had failed to complete the offices.

“The county has taken a long time to complete the project, yet a lot of taxpayers' money has been paid to the contractor,” he said.

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When The Standard toured the site, we found county trucks parked outside the structure. There was a pile of rusting metal, and construction materials were wasting away.

Worrying cracks

Last year, the National Construction Authority (NCA) questioned the design and stability of the building.

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In a preliminary report dated March 23, the authority said it had launched an investigation into the initial architectural plan of the building that was changed midway through construction to accommodate an extra floor.

“There are worrying cracks and drainage issues that are serious. There are also serious errors in the structural design coupled with faulty construction and poor workmanship. As a result, the main pillars are too weak to accommodate the weight of the building,” stated the NCA report.

According to the Auditor General's 2014-15 report, the county launched construction of the complex at a cost of Sh103 million.

The initial plan was to construct a two-storey building to house the governor’s office and county departments.

But as construction progressed, on October 7, 2014, the county sought to add an extra floor at a cost of Sh21 million.

One year later, the contractor left the site after completing structural work up to the third floor.

An audit done in November last year, however, found that the project remained incomplete and the contractor had abandoned the site.

Mengich Rono, a member of the county assembly's devolution committee, said they had raised questions about the neglected building.

Mr Rono said although the county government had provided the assembly with a three-paragraph report on the building, they were not satisified with the response.

He added that the county government had told the committee that it was in talks with the County Pension Fund to seek additional funds to complete the office complex.

“In the subsequent budget of 2017-18, money had been allocated for the building, but it was re-allocated through a supplementary budget. The same applied to 2018-19 when a lot of money had been allocated but then re-allocated.”

Definite decision

The MCA said the county government has not made a definite decision to complete the building, and that the people of Nandi risked losing the money that has already been invested in the project.

County Secretary Francis Sang said construction had been halted for "integrity purposes", adding that some parts of it required "adjustments and improvements".

“The building has been a subject of investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and we are waiting for clearance and authority to proceed with the construction,” Mr Sang said.

"We have been following up the matter with the EACC and they are winding up with the report. It is for them to hand over the findings of the investigations."

EACC North Rift Manager Mutembei Nyagah was unable to tell The Standard how far investigations had gone.

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National Construction AuthorityNandi Governor Stephen SangEthics and Anti-Corruption CommissionEACC