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Daily Nation : January 27th 2014
DAILY NATION Monday January 27, 2014 by greedy individuals to stop them project as Jubilee leaders blame cartels or currency value changes. That means the rail project will actually cost more. The loan will be repaid at a two per cent interest over the next two decades, a higher charge than most international financiers. Deputy President William Ruto has previously said the cost will be about Sh160 billion from Mombasa to Nairobi. Laptops (Sh22 billion) The laptops project was Jubilee’s key priority during the campaigns in its pledge to further free education to children. The programme was set for implementation shortly after the 2014 school calendar started, targeting 1.28 million pupils. But children must now wait longer, perhaps up to next term to see the gadgets. The first tender was cancelled after all bidders quoted more than triple the initial Sh9.7 billion allocated for the first phase. American firm HP was the lowest bidder in the first tender with a bid of Sh28.7 billion while Shen Zhen Auto Digital quoted Sh30.3 billion and Mastec placed two wheeler-dealers who were out to discredit the government and derail important projects after losing out on tenders. They cited the networks inherited from the Kibaki government, such as those behind the Anglo-Leasing scandal, which they claimed were still in government and trying to resume their activities. The railway deal is the sub- ject of investigations by two parliamentary committees. Starehe MP Maina Kamanda, who chairs the Transport Committee, hit out at unnamed individuals who have allegedly infiltrated the government to try and influence decisionmaking. Mr Kamanda accused the bids quoting Sh32.6 billion in one and Sh31.3 billion in the other. The government decided to re-advertise. The second opportunity proved similarly uncertain despite tougher rules for bidders. Ghost workers (Sh1.8 billion) The government has always argued that the current wage bill, which has been absorbing more than half of the national budget, should be lowered. But it turned out last week that about Sh2 billion a year of it has been going to non-existent employees. President Uhuru Kenyatta last week revealed that an initial audit in eight ministries found evidence that several officers said to be on secondment are dead, retired or have deserted their duties but still ‘earning’ salaries. individuals of seeking to hold the government to ransom. Speaking to the Nation on condition of confidentiality, a State House official agreed with the claims made by the Jubilee MPs. “It is a motley of groups that have had long interest in government. They are so deep in government that nothing can happen without them having their hands on it,” the source said. “They are the reason some of the projects have not taken place even though money was released. They are now back seeking to demonise the grand projects like the railway.” Senator Kipchumba Murkomen also spoke of cartels who he accused of House oversight role at risk as committees fight over functions BY CAROLINE WAFULA @Carwafs firstname.lastname@example.org T he National Assembly’s oversight role could be in jeopardy as MPs fight over its mandate and that of departmental committees, the Nation has established. The fights are centred on complaints by some departmental committees that the Public Investments Committee, one of the watchdog teams, is overstepping its mandate and has rendered them useless. These issues arose after committee members discovered that the PIC was looking into the same matters that several other committees were investigating. Some committee members have complained that their teams were likely to appear ceremonial and feckless. With several committees investigating the same matters, this fighting has also seeking to hold the government to ransom. Senate Majority leader Kithure Kindiki had earlier said a few wealthy people were using their connections to intimidate people in government to award them tenders. “You can intimidate some people some time, but you cannot intimidate all the people all the time,” he said. And Mr Duale cautioned the cartels against using the courts to achieve their goals, saying Kenya now has a reformed Judiciary that did not condone corruption. —Reports by Bernard Namunane, Aggrey Mutambo and Ouma Wanzala FILE | NATION Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter appears before a Parliamentary committee in Nairobi. The committees are fighting over mandate. raised the possibility of the Executive getting contrasting recommendations from the National Assembly on the same issue. Without ministers in Parlia- ment, the oversight role has shifted to the committees, which invite Cabinet Secretaries and anybody else to answer questions, after which they prepare reports and make recommendations. MPs are paid for every committee meeting – Sh10,000 for a chairperson, Sh8,000 for a vice-chairperson and Sh5,000 for a member. PIC last week started inves- tigation into the controversial award of the contract for the construction of the standard gauge railway to China Road and Bridge Corporation. The Transport, Public Works and Housing Committee is investigating the same matter. Last week, the two com- mittees met officials from the Executive and other govern- ment offices to get evidence about the procurement and award of the contract to the Chinese company. Both teams have adopted different positions to the railway project. While Transport appears to support it, PIC seems keen on questioning and doubting it. PIC is undertaking another inquiry of the Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited, which started before Indian firm Essar Energy indicated it would pull out of a joint venture with the Kenyan Government to operate the refinery. Sh5,000 The allowance paid to a Parliamentary committee member per sitting The same matter had been handled by the Energy, Information and Communication Committee. Also under the scrutiny of the PIC is the cancelled Sh5 billion project by the National Social Security Fund in Tassia estate, Nairobi. The same project is the subject of a parallel inquiry by the Labour and Social Welfare Committee. GRAFT National News 5 KEVIN ODIT | NATION President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy, Mr William Ruto, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and other leaders at the launch of the standard-gauge railway construction project. A lobby group has asked the government to suspend the project until all queries are addressed. Jubilee leaders insist they are committed to fighting corruption.
January 26th 2014
January 28th 2014