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CS Macharia now denies giving highway tender to US company

By Lee Mwiti | Published Thu, July 12th 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 11th 2018 at 23:47 GMT +3
CS James Macharia. [David Njaaga, Standard]

In summary

  • CS tells Parliament he has no knowledge of agreement.
  • KenHA had earlier said Betchel had signed contract for planned Mombasa-Nairobi expressway

Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has denied that the Government has awarded American Company Bechtel a tender for the construction of a six-lane highway linking Nairobi to Mombasa.

This is even as documents from one of the agencies under his docket, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KenHA) tell a different story of the American firm getting the tender on August 5, 2017.

Appearing before Parliament’s Implementation Committee yesterday, Mr Macharia refuted a claim by one of the committee members, Simba Arati, that the American firm pocketed the tender through single-sourcing.

“Neither Parliament nor the general public knows how this tender was granted to Bechtel with no competitive bidding. Even the discussions with the American government were done in the dark,” said Mr Arati.

But Macharia said Arati’s claim was based on hearsay.

"The construction of the Nairobi-Mombasa Highway has not been tendered to anybody. My ministry has no knowledge of an agreement with Bechtel. There is talk of single-sourcing of this tender to the Americans which I know nothing about," he said.

The CS’s assertions contrast with a communication from KenHA dated September 18, 2017 and signed by Director General Peter Mundinia, which said that Kenya entered into an agreement with the US government in July 2015.

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"The selection of Bechtel for this project was based on Bechtel’s 119-year experience in delivering infrastructure projects around the world, focused on delivering to a high international standard quality and building local capacity," KenHA’s statement read.

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