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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.

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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