Nairobi, Kenya: The controversy surrounding the Sh43 billion pipeline tender has taken a dangerous turn after a top manager at Kenya Pipeline Company claims to have received a live bullet wrapped in a condolence card.
The manager, Bramwel Wanyalikha, who is in charge of engineering, says he had opened what appeared like a normal letter on June 16, which had his name misspelt as Bramwel Wanyarika, only for a live bullet to pop out.
The envelope had a mobile number and the name of the alleged sender, whose number (withheld) was given.
When we called the number yesterday, two weeks after the letter was sent, the owner of the number said that was not his name and gave a different one.
When asked about the strange parcel, he denied any knowledge of it.
“I do not want any of your nonsense. I have not sent any letter. I do not know anybody at Kenya Pipeline. I come from Kakamega County and if you come now, you will find me here. I do not understand these stories about bullets,” he said.
He said he was ready to meet the police and respond to questions over the saga.
On the deadly missive, Mr Wanyalikha said inside the envelope there was a card which read: “This heartfelt message comes with loving thoughts and many prayers that you receive consolation and strength in your bereavement.”
Wanyalikha told The Standard he believed the letter was linked to the Sh43 billion Nairobi pipeline (Line 1) replacement project tender awarded to Zakhem International Construction Limited a week ago.
He said the parcel was delivered to his office on June 16 and that he opened it while in the company of his colleagues.
“People who can send a bullet are capable of killing but God is with me. I am forced to use every effort possible to travel to work and back home safely,” said the manager.
However, he said he was unbowed, noting that “I know those who have waged war against me. I wish to inform them that I am a professional engineer and wish to work as a professional till I retire.”
He added he has recorded a statement with the police who are investigating the incident.
Makadara head of CID Zack Nanguli confirmed Wanyalikha had recorded a statement with them.
Nanguli said no arrest had been made so far but investigations had been launched.
“We are making good progress in tracing the origin of the parcel and hope to make arrests soon,” he said.
The KPC tender had raised much controversy with the losing bidders lodging an appeal with the review board of the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA).
They sought to bar KPC from signing a contract with Zakhem, citing irregularities.
But PPOA has said it was reviewing the issue and directed that some KPC staff be investigated for leaking the tender information to China Wu Yi, which was one of the bidders.
The tendering row looks set to delay the construction of the 450km pipeline, which will replace the existing one that has outlived its 30-year lifespan and is prone to leaks.
Evaluation of bids
Construction of the line, which is designed to meet petroleum products demand for the Eastern Africa region up to the year 2044, was set to start next month and end by September 2016.
Zakhem emerged top in the evaluation of bids with a score of 95.5 per cent, according to the KPC tender team, beating six competitors.
Other firms eyeing the contract were China Petroleum Engineering and Construction Corporation, Denis NV, PunjLoyd, Sinopec International Petroleum Service, Saipem Business Unit Engineering Construction and China Wu Yi Company Limited.
The losers protested, claiming companies with much lower bids were unfairly rated yet they offered the best value for money.
The bid for Zakhem was $484.5 million (Sh42.12 billion), China Petroleum Engineering Construction Corporation $518.96 million (Sh45.15 billion), and that of Sinopec International Petroleum Service $489.35 million (42.57 billion).
Others were China Wuyi Company $456.88 million (Sh39.75 billion), Dennys NV $475.35 million (Sh41.35 billion), Punj Lloyd $670.16 million (Sh58.3 billion) and Saipem Business Unit Engineering Construction $706.43 million (Sh61.45 billion).
The issue is also being investigated by Parliament.