Kenya Ports Authority chiefs grilled over Sh2.7b contracts
The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) board members were yesterday questioned in connection with tenders worth Sh2.7 billion suspected to have been used to steal public funds.
During the grilling at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters in Nairobi, board members and the management differed sharply over the probe which is expected to set the stage for arrest of senior officials.
Detectives from the DCI headquarters had taken over some aspects of investigations at the Port of Mombasa in a bid to break the deadlock that has delayed the prosecution of officials suspected to be behind the scandals.
KPA chair Joseph Kibwana, however, did not appear before for questioning.
Managing Director Daniel Manduku claimed his signature was forged to facilitate a Sh1.4 billion payment for the construction of concrete barriers at the port which had not been planned for in the 2018/19 financial year.
Manduku further claimed he used some Sh600 million that had been set aside for repairs to make part of the payment.
He, however, could not explain how he approved the release of the money if he had indeed realised that his signature had been forged.
Part of the investigations have already been concluded and the files forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Manduku, according to the detectives, is likely to face 30 counts of corruption and abuse of office. The probe, which was approved in August, has also implicated top officials.
Manduku, who has been in charge of the authority for about 17 months, is said to have authorised irregular expenditure totaling to Sh2.73 billion in three projects, including the Makongeni goodshed yard, manufacture of concrete barriers, and the Kisumu port revitalisation.
Some Sh506 million was paid to eight contractors for works at Makongeni yard.
Bill of quantities
The investigations being carried out by the Economic and Commercial Crimes Unit of the DCI show that Manduku saw the preparation of bills of quantities.
Those adversely mention in the probe report include General manager operations William Rutto, senior works officer Anthony Muhanji, principal engineer Benard Nyobange and a works officer Juma Chigulu.
Muhanji is said to have prepared nine bills of quantities that were forwarded to the head of the procurement department for the issuing of purchase orders.
Detectives said some Sh3 billion that had been set aside and approved for the purchase of a piece of land for the Inland Container Depot Nairobi to ease congestion had been diverted to finance the Makongeni yard at a cost of Sh500 million, while another Sh2 billion was used for dredging of the Mombasa port.
Reports, however, revealed the management proposed to wire Sh1 billion for paving works and marking of the Makongeni yard which is owned by the Kenya Railways Corporation.