KPA highlighted in licensing of Joho-linked firm

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020 00:00 |
Activist Okiya Omtatah. Photo/File

The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) management could find itself in court battling allegations of flouting procurement processes while licensing a company associated with Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s family as the second grain bulk handling facility at the port of Mombasa.

Already, the red flag has been raised on why KPA settled on Portside Freight Terminals Limited (PFTL) and not six other firms that made proposals for the licenses for the second handling terminal that, according to the 2018-2047 master plan is required by 2023.

For years, Grain Bulk Handlers Limited (GBHL) that draws clientele from millers, international food relief organisations among others, has been the sole company mandated to handle bulk grain on Berth B3-B4 since 2002, triggering agitation for liberalization of grain bulk operations to allow other operators.

The National Assembly Committee of Finance whose members toured the post last month on a fact finding mission, in a report dated November 25, recommended that more operators be licensed in order to optimize revenue from importation of grain but in a manner that promotes fairness in the licensing process.

Activist Okiya Omtata through his Kenyans for Justice and Development (KEJUDE), has now written to the KPA acting MD Engineer Rashid Salim to furnish him with documents used during the process to license PFTL.

The activist also wants the license that was awarded to Portside Freight Terminals Limited that operates at Shed Number 7 and 8 to be suspended until issues that he has raised on the licensing are cleared.

Omtata in his letter dated December 11, has accused KPA of licensing Portside Freight Terminals Limited in flagrant contravention, violation, abuse and breach of its own Master Plan that projected that the new bulk grain berth be developed in Dongo Kundu or Lamu.

According to Omtata, in procurement and awarding of contracts, “the Authority is required to be guided by the principles of transparency, free and fair competition and equal opportunity in accordance with guidelines established”.

Following a fact-finding mission at GBHL on November 21, the Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga-led committee recommended more handling facilities to deal with exponential growth of grain imports that have given impetus on need for a second, third or fourth terminals” through transparently and fair competition.

“Contrary to the express and clear requirements of the law and the demands by Parliament cited above, we have received disturbing complaints from members of the public to the effect that, recently, Portside Freight Terminals Limited submitted its proposal for the licensing of a second bulk grain terminal,” Omtata letter reads.

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