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KeNHA blames land-related court cases for stalled road projects

By Standard Reporter | Dec 11th 2015 | 2 min read
By Standard Reporter | December 11th 2015

Nairobi: The Kenya National Highways Authority Chairman Erastus Mwongera on Thursday said the Authority is concerned about claims that quite often end up in court.

Mwongera said that the suits have stalled some road projects by over five years while draining the authority’s resources.

“Some project in western Kenya which could have been completed by now is the latest case. We terminated the contract we had with the consultant, he went to court, and the cost is now inflated because even the little that was done has gone to waste,” said Mr. Mwongera.

Mwongera was referring to the Kakamega - Kaburengu road that has seen KeNHA cancel a contract handed over to Vij Ltd, formerly Vijal Infrastructure Ltd, in 2012.

The ministry of Transport, in a statement, said there are 153 ongoing road projects, covering about 3,600 kilometres expected to be complete in the next two to three years.

However, engineers gathered on Thursday at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, Nairobi, noted that the timelines will not be met. The Engineers Registration Board says that contractors are owed billions of shillings.

“Delayed payments affect consultants heavily and are to blame for poor quality of projects. The Government should look at paying us within 30 days of the invoice date,” said Consulting Engineers of Kenya chairman Mr Kariuki Muchemi.

Mwongera said consultants must adhere to the terms of reference enlisted in the contracts. “This is because cost and time overruns are to blame for delay in paying consultants. Over 40 and 50 per cent of the resources we have now are paying claims instead of paying projects that are moving forward.”

KeNHA Director General Peter Mundinia further said that most cases they were handling have proven expensive and are dragging projects behind.

“If a lawyer gives you a legal opinion, you can’t put aside and follow yours, often contract issues that can be settled amicably are ending up in arbitration and even litigation further bringing down the authorities resources and frustrating project implementation altogether,” Mundinia said.

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