Inside Politics

Italian firm’s equipment face auction

Tuesday, September 28th, 2021 00:00 |
Former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich. PD/FILE

Italian construction company CMC di Ravenna, which faces charges in a multi-million shilling corruption scandal in Kenya, risks losing construction equipment worth millions of shillings in an auction.

The revelation comes after customs officials at the Port of Mombasa said the machinery would be auctioned if they are not removed from the port warehouse facilities in 30 days.

“Notice is given that unless the under-mentioned goods are entered and removed from the Customs Warehouse within 30 days from the date of this notice, they will be sold by public auction on October 27, 2021,” the customs and border control department said in the latest gazette notice.

Inflation of prices

The machines that were to be transported to Embakasi, Nairobi include several second-hand rota dump, Second Hand Muck Cars and trailers.

The machines could be auctioned given that the company has an ongoing case in court over loss of billions related to inflation of prices that has the equipment overstay at the port.

Prosecutors accuse the company and Treasury officials of inflating the cost of building two dams in the Rift Valley Sh63 billion ($608 million) from an original cost of Sh46 billion.

The government made advance payments of Sh19 billion, including Sh11 billion in unnecessary debt insurance, which prosecutors say was shared out in accounts belonging to the conspirators and their agents. CMC denied any links to those arrangements.

All the equipment mentioned are second-hand, indicating the company was reacting after the scandal broke out perhaps to show that it was moving into action yet the land for the project was never acquired in the first place.

Kenya is struggling to pay billions of debt owed to investors due to theft of public resources which has seen the government hike prices of goods and services across the board with the latest being fuel prices.

Work on the two dams has not started yet, prosecutors say, an assertion the company disputes. No land where the dams are meant to be built has yet been acquired, prosecutors say.

Former Finance Secretary Henry Rotich, who was freed on Sh15 million bail, is one of 26 people facing charges related to the dams project.

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