Fred Odongo, the managing director of Doshko Company Limited, is a frustrated man. In October 2014, Nakuru County Government awarded him a tender to construct two Early Childhood Development (ECD) classrooms in Kuresoi South Constituency.
He constructed one ECD classroom and a toilet at San Marco ECD at a total cost of about Sh1.38 million. The second project was the construction of one ECD classroom at Kalunguka Kiplemeino at a cost of Sh1.19 million.
The county government paid him Sh500,000 at the start of the work and promised to clear the balance once the work was completed. Buoyed by the promise, Odongo went ahead and borrowed Sh690,000 from Youth Enterprise Development Fund to help him finish the project on time. He promised to repay the loan in two years once the county fully paid him.
Odongo completed the work four years ago and has been chasing his payment of about Sh4 million from the county without success.
He claims county accountants and some officials have been taking him round in circles whenever he asks for the payments, adding that his invoices have disappeared three times in the Nakuru County Government offices.
A spot check in the county shows that several other contractors have abandoned unfinished construction projects, mainly Early Childhood Development classrooms in Nakuru Municipality and several sub counties, for failure by the county government to honour payment.
For the last two years, contractors have dumped construction projects in the county after realising they would be forced to spend their own money and fail to get paid at all or on time due to bureaucracy.
Charles Dullo, another contractor, said he was forced to abandon construction of three ECD classrooms at St Theresa, Baharini and Bondeni primary schools in Nakuru Municipality worth Sh6.5 million after the county government failed to pay him on time.
For Odongo, things have been tough. He defaulted on repaying the Sh690,000 he borrowed from the Youth Enterprise Development Fund, which has since forwarded his name to the credit reference bureau (CRB); he can’t borrow money from any other institution until CRB clears him.
Nakuru County Executive for Finance Peter Ketyenye said they have no problem paying the contractors as long as their documentation is correct and up-to-date.
Odongo confirmed he had been issued with certificates of completion four years ago.