EACC is probing claims that some county officials tampered with the tendering process for the construction of Moi Stadium in Kisumu.
The anti-graft agency has stopped construction of the Sh1.3 billion Moi Stadium in Kisumu County after questioning the tendering process.
In a letter dated March 18 addressed to County Secretary Geoffrey Kigochi and copied to Governor Anyang’ Nyong'o, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) said it has started investigating claims that some county officials might have tampered with the tendering process.
The tender for the project had already been awarded and work began in December last year.
The letter, which is signed by the commission’s Western Region Manager Mogare Oira, noted: “The commission, in pursuit of its constitutional and statutory mandate, is in receipt of a complaint."
It went on: "This complaint alleges corrupt conduct, economic crimes, procurement irregularities and fraudulent practices by public officers of the County Government in respect to the tender for proposed construction of Kisumu Stadium Complex through tender number CGK/TOUR/FIN/05/2018-2019, which has been awarded to M/S Sahjanad Construction Limited Co."
EACC is now demanding at least 20 documents from the county government, which it said will enable it "conduct an expeditious, fair and comprehensive investigation".
Some of the documents demanded include the county’s approved budget and supplementary budgets for the financial years 2017-18 and 2018-19, consolidated procurement plans for the two financial years, and an approved procurement plan from the Ministry of Sports for the two financial years.
Other documents are a list of pre-qualified contractors for the two financial years, the bill of quantities, tender adverts and tender documents submitted by the contractors as well as the letters of appointment by the tender opening and evaluation committees.
During the investigation process, Mr Oira said, the commission has temporarily stopped any works related to the construction of the facility, warning of dire legal actions against officers who ignore the order.
“Please take note that you are hereby advised to avoid huge loss of public funds by halting any procurement processes, payments or processing of payment in regard to the said project and any works being undertaken (if any) pending the completion and determination of our investigations,” the letter reads.
In April last year, Sports Executive Achie Alai said Sh90 million has been factored in the county budget to fund the stadium's construction.
Two months later, she confirmed that the tendering process had been completed, and the groundbreaking ceremony for the works was to be set for December last year.
All went silent until last month when reports went round that the anti-graft body had raised queries over the handling of the tendering process.
The stadium serves as home to Football Premier League side Western Stima, Women’s Premier League side Kisumu all-starlets, National Super League side Kisumu all-stars and Division one side Kisumu Hotstars FC.
Mr Oira yesterday confirmed having had talks with the county government. He said for now, no one has been interrogated yet.
Oira said this is because EACC has scaled down its operations following the coronavirus scare, which has seen many companies and State institutions shut down their offices.
“Once we fully resume work, we will pick the investigation from where we left. But for now we are waiting to be supplied with the documents we sought,” he said.
Aloyce Ager, Prof Nyong'o's spokesperson, confirmed that the governor's office has received the EACC letter.
"The County Government is in receipt of the communication from EACC and we are trying to provide the documents that EACC has asked for," said Mr Ager.
"We shall wait until the investigation is completed, then continue with the stadium construction."
His sentiments were echoed by Ms Alai, who allayed any fears that the investigation could affect the project.
“We are complying with the commission's demands. We are currently compiling the documents they seek,” she said, declining to divulge more on the matter since it is under investigation.
The delay in the completion of the project is a blow to the soccer enthusiasts who had been expecting to have the pitch ready for international standard matches.
In 2018, the Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (Cecafa) cancelled matches which had been scheduled to take place at the stadium after reports that the facility had not met the basic standards to host Fifa-sanctioned sports events.
Fifa is the world's football governing body.
The matches were subsequently moved to Kakamega’s Bukhungu Stadium.