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Jimmy Wanjigi: Kenya paid double for SGR and Expressway projects

Businessman Jimmy Wanjigi. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

Businessman Jimmy Wanjigi has slammed President William Ruto for plunging the country into a deep economic crisis by borrowing excessively and unlawfully.

He also alleged that Kenya paid over 100 per cent for the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and the Nairobi Expressway projects, which he said were money laundering schemes.

Wanjigi made these remarks during an interview on Spice FM on Monday, November 6.

He said he gave Ruto a year to prove himself before criticizing him, but he was disappointed by his performance.

“I was not about to criticize President William Ruto, I gave him a year because that is how you know what the government template will be,” he said.

He added that Ruto was doing the same things he had been criticizing over the last ten years, such as borrowing without parliamentary approval and transparency.

“We talked about legality of debt, Parliament, and this information he is aware of because I myself made sure he knows. Parliament in Misappropriation Bill 2023, passed external and foreign loans to be taken of Sh313 billion, a month later in what is gazetted by the National Treasury as statement of Exchequer, puts it categorically that external loans and grants is Sh870 billion, domestic loans Sh693 billion,” he said.

“When did Parliament approve Sh1.6 trillion in debt? And this is the bonoko politics I’m talking about.”

Wanjigi also revealed some shocking details about the SGR and the Expressway projects, which he said were inflated and overpaid by the Kenyan government.

He said that the contract between Kenya Railways and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) in 2012 was for the civil works for building railway between Mombasa and Nairobi and the provision of locomotives and installing some facilities.

The financing Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) in 2023 were for how to finance those two contracts, signed by National Treasury, and the Exim Bank of China.

The agreement was for 3.8 billion dollars (Sh380 billion).

“But going all the way to Naivasha, increased another 1.2 billion dollars (Sh120 billion) which totals to 5 billion dollars (Sh500 billion). The country was supposed to finance 10 per cent of the total amount with Exim Bank financing 90 per cent,” he said.

He then dropped the bombshell that Kenya paid more than double for the project.

“Our total contribution as Kenya, should have been Sh50 billion but we ended up paying Sh644 billion. Exim Bank paid 5 billion dollars (Sh500 billion). Essentially we paid over 100 per cent for the project which means we didn’t need a loan. This is just simple math. People are not doing math here, we have a big problem and you are asking why we have a big problem,” he said.

He said that the Nairobi Expressway, which cost around Sh100 billion, was also a money laundering scheme by CRBC, which had received over Sh700 billion above their cost for the SGR project.

“If you have been paid over Sh700 billion above your cost, you just bring it back to wash it and legitimize it. The actual construction of Nairobi Expressway, was an investment by China Roads and Bridges Company estimated at around Sh100 billion to be recouped after 27 years which is guaranteed by the Kenyan Government,” he said.

He warned that the country was facing a serious economic crisis due to the huge debt burden and the depreciation of the shilling.

“We have so much money going into debt. Every time our exchange rate is dropping. Sh1 drop increases debt by Sh40 billion and that is never going to end, it is increasing by the day. The fuel price will keep going up every day until it will reach Sh300 and beyond,” he said.

“Our shilling is dropping because we are not producing but 70 per cent is going to repaying debt and 15 per cent is going to recurrent expenditure and we are left with 12 per cent which is supposed to go to development.”

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