Residents want Ouko questioned as kisumu Mall opening delays

The Lake Basin Development mall in Kisumu on March16, 2018. After years of controversy, the Sh4 billion mall opened its doors to allow potential tenants to survey it with optimism that the move will improve the economy of Kisumu County. [Collins Oduor/Standard]

Residents of Kisumu took to the streets to protest delayed opening of the Sh3.8 billion Lake Basin Mall.

The mall is yet open more than a year after Auditor General Edward Ouko gave it a clean bill of health.

Official launch of the mall has been clouded by investigations into suspected misuse of funds channeled towards its construction at a cost quoted to be between Sh3.8 billion and Sh4.1 billion.

The residents, who protested on the streets of Kisumu yesterday, want Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri (formerly Devolution CS) and Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo to shed light on the delay.

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A consortium of civil society groups, residents and small traders eyeing opportunities in doing business with the expansive mall want the officials who gave its construction a clean bill of health roped into an active investigation of former and current officials of the Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA) which owns the property.

A report on rental income shows that the mall can generate Sh232,633,704 annually.

Ouko, however, recommended the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority be roped in since procurement laws peg variation at a maximum of 15 per cent of the contract sum.

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The residents want local leaders to take up the matter to speed up launch of the mall which is expected create thousands of jobs.

“We plead with our elected leaders to take up this matter to ensure it is solved amicably,” they said.

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