Ndemo under probe over ICT land
Posted Tuesday, August 7 2012 at 23:30
- PS is being investigated for allegedly buying the land through direct procurement instead of an open tender
The anti-corruption commission is investigating a permanent secretary for allegedly flouting procurement regulations during the purchase of ICT park land in Machakos County.
The 5,000-acre property was bought from Malili Ranch Limited in Machakos County at Sh1 billion.
Information permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo is being investigated together with the ministry’s chief procurement officer for allegedly buying the Konza Techno City land through direct procurement instead of an open tender.
Dr Ndemo, however, said on Tuesday the land was bought through competitive bidding.
Questions had been raised over composition of the ministerial committee that awarded the tender.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission said it had opened fresh investigations into the matter after the Director of Public Prosecutions called for further investigations following their recommendations that Dr Ndemo and the ministry’s chief procurement officer be prosecuted.
“The file was forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions on April 2, 2012, with recommendations that the PS and the ministry’s chief procurement officer be charged with the offences of careless failure to comply with the law relating to procurement of goods contrary to the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act,” an EACC report seen by the Nation indicates.
The anti-corruption agency said it launched investigations following allegations of procurement irregularities, bid rigging and abuse of office against Ministry of Information officials during the procurement of the 5,000 acres for the planned Information and Communications and Technology park for the development of business processing outsourcing sub-sector.
“Investigations revealed that the procurement for the purchase of the land for the ICT Park was not done in conformity with the provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act and the Regulations,” it adds.
However, Dr Ndemo said there was no money lost in the procurement of the land for the Konza Techno City as the project was done in the best interest of the country and in a transparent manner.
“The Cabinet had authorised us to buy 10,000 acres but following valuation by the Ministry of Lands that put the price per acre at Sh200,000 we settled for 5,000 acres which were purchased through a competitive tender,” he said.
The PS said the ministerial tender committee did not include “an outsider” as provided for in law.
The Konza Techo City project has been mired in controversy since its inception.
Three directors of Malili Ranch that sold the land for the project were arrested and charged for alleged theft of millions of shillings from the deal.
The directors allegedly also sold the 5,000 acres to the government at a cost of Sh1 billion without the approval of shareholders.
They reportedly stole Sh143 million from Malili Ranch Limited.