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US defends Sh300b road tender pact

By Paul Wafula | Published Thu, September 14th 2017 at 00:00, Updated September 13th 2017 at 22:52 GMT +3
US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec

In summary

  • US says there were no political favours linked to the multibillion Mombasa-Nairobi expressway
  • Deal has sparked turf wars among implementing agencies
  • Embassy denies single-sourced contract to American firm had anything to do with its political stance

The US Government has defended the awarding of a multi-billion-shilling road contract to an American firm without any competitive bidding.

The American embassy in Nairobi said the Sh300 billion Nairobi-Mombasa expressway project has been two years in the making and had been evaluated to ensure Kenyans get value for their money and that it was not a ‘thank you gift’ for supporting the sitting government.

“The US embassy does not and will not give political favours for commercial deals,” said the embassy in a statement posted on its Twitter handle in response to a story carried in The Financial Standard on Tuesday.

The story revealed how the tender award to Bechtel International Inc had sparked turf wars among implementing agencies, with some terming it a ‘thank you gift’ to the US for unspecified support to the Kenyan Government.

Bechtel International clinched the tender three days before the August 8 General Election, taking some government departments involved in the initial stages of the road deal by surprise.

“US private firms (bound by US anti-corruption laws) investing in Kenya’s future bring jobs, technology transfer and development,” said the embassy in the Twitter post.

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The embassy, however, steered clear of the controversy on why the project had to be single-sourced to an American firm.

The elephant in the room is also the project’s cost after it was elevated to a government-to-government deal, the same as the standard gauge railway deal awarded to a Chinese firm.

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