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The East African : Mar 30th 2015
4 INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT The EastAfrican NEWS MARCH 28 - APRIL 3, 2015 Kenyatta moves to tackle co≥≥uption By FRED OLUOCH Special Correspondent Following a public outcry, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta this week decided to tackle corruption, ordering a crackdown on corrupt officials in the national and county governments. In his State of the Nation The Kigali Convention Centre was scheduled for completion in 2011. Picture: File Rwanda could sever links with convention centre contractor Kigali has cont≥acted a Swiss fi≥m to audit the wo≥k that has been done to pave the way fo≥ f≥esh bids A JOINT REPORT The EastAfrican R wanda could tender afresh for a contractor for its multimillion dollar Kigali Convention Centre, whose completion has been delayed by alleged mismanagement and procurement flaws. The EastAfrican has learnt that the government plans to terminate the contract of the Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG), which was constructing the $300 million centre. The conference centre com- prises a five-star hotel with 292 rooms, an information technology office park and a conference hall with the capacity to host 2,600 people, among other facilities. A shortfall in financing The project was set for completion by 2011, but was initially delayed by a shortfall in financing. Part of the $400 million borrowed from the international market in 2013 was to go towards completion of the project by the end of 2014, but substantive issues have emerged that may further delay the construction. “We have hit a snag. We have money but there are issues we have to iron out. The two teams are discussing the way forward — if we separate we will make it official,” Claver Gatete, Rwanda’s Finance Minister, said without divulging details about the stalemate that has halted construction works. Mr Gatete sought to assure investors in the project that the government would meet its debt obligations despite the delay. “We still have room to bor- row and we can also pay from the central Treasury,” Mr Gatete said, pointing out that the country’s current debt to GDP ratio is still low at 24 per cent while the IMF advised ceiling is 50 per cent. The Kigali Convention Centre is a strategic investment that is expected to boost Rwanda’s position as a conference destination. The government has pro- jected earnings $150 million this year from meetings, incentives, conferences and events, up from $42 million collected last year. But The EastAfrican has learnt that Axiome Swiss International, an engineering company, is auditing the project, after which the government will determine the way forward. Quality of work A key concern for the gov- ernment is the delay in completing the construction of the centre that should have hosted the African Development Bank annual meetings in May last year. There are also concerns about the quality of the work done by the Chinese firm. Axiome Swiss Internation- “We have hit a snag. We have money but there are issues we have to iron out.” Claver Gatete, Finance Minister al has also been tasked to draft tendering procedures in order to attract bids for potential companies to replace BCEG. Axiome projects that the audit will be complete by June and the bids will start coming in by the end of August. “We have been put in charge, as well as doing the audit work for, among oth- DESIGN CHANGES The government faces the dilemma of negotiating and seeking approval of design changes with the original designers of the project who are based in Germany. The original conceptual design of the project was done by Spacial Solutions, a Germany-based firm but the Chinese firm on site had to adjust it. Under the contract, the Chinese firm had to seek approval at every stage of the construction from the German firm to agree on safety alterations. er things, the quality of the construction material that was used for this project,” a source from Axiome Swiss International said on condition of anonymity. According to the engineer, from the audit carried out so far, works on the water pipes and metal bars have been found to be substandard. “Water pipes are damaged to the extent of not being usable but the contractors had gone ahead to use them and concealed the damage with polythene bags,” he said. All the construction ma- terials were being imported from China by sea. Report by Alex Ngarambe and Berna Namata President Kenyatta hands over anti corruption commission report to National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi (left) and Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuru. Picture: File address on Thursday, the second since he took power in April 2013, President Kenyatta declared that all officials in national and county governments, legislature and the judiciary who have been adversely mentioned in Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) reports, must step aside pending investigations. “Let me reiterate that it is not my place to determine the guilt or otherwise of any of the people mentioned in the said report or any other. However, the time has come to send a strong signal to the country that my administration will accept nothing less than the highest standard of integrity from those that hold high office,” said the president. He noted that the war on corruption will not be won unless all arms and levels of government play their role and uphold the highest levels of integrity and act decisively against any perpetrator of corruption. Earlier in the week, a group of civil society organisations under the umbrella Devolution Forum had listed the 20 corruption scandals, including the Ksh42.6 billion ($454 million) lap- top tender in which the cost was inflated by Ksh1.4 billion ($14 million) above what the winning bidder quoted; the standard gauge railway contract; the Ksh50 million ($533,000) “Chicken Gate” scandal involving officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the Ksh13 billion ($138 million) National Social Security Fund Tassia II and Hazina Towers project; irregular single-sourcing of Ksh 15 billion ($160 million) CCTV security network to Safaricom; and the payment of the Ksh1.4 billion ($14 million) to shadowy AngloLeasing companies. Gladwell Otieno, execu- tive director of the Africa Centre for Open Governance (Africog) had demanded that President Kenyatta dissolve the EACC and reconstitute it afresh, cancel all the tenders that have been given under the Jubilee government, and the president to specifically address himself to the mega corruption within his government. At the same time, the president issued a surprise apology to Kenyans on behalf of his government and previous governments in regard to historical injustices such as land grabbing, massacres, the victims of 2007/2008 post-election violence, political assassinations and detentions of those who were agitating for more democratic space, as a means of moving the country forward. On the region, the presi- dent noted that regional economic integration is progressing well and while he was the chair of the East African Community last year, integration deepened and partner states concluded a range of instruments to enhance close economic, political and infrastructural development ties.
Mar 23rd 2015
Apr 6th 2015