Leaders from Tharaka-Nithi County have expressed their disappointment with the contractor assigned to tarmac the 30-kilometer Keeria-Magutuni-Kathwana road in Maara Constituency, saying the work is progressing very slowly.
Speaking in Kaare market Thursady, Governor Muthomi Njuki, his deputy Nyamu Kagwima and Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki, said it is dishonest for the contractor to have pocketed an advance payment of Sh80 million but is yet to start the work that was launched by Deputy President William Ruto more than a year ago.
Mr Mbiuki said the contractor, Mastermind Company, which is owned by a businessman from the county, presented a bank statement of Sh1.2 billion to convince the government that he had the financial capacity to do the work only to start asking for advance payment before moving to the site.
He said he also made the least quotation of Sh1.3 billion during procurement while the rest of the binders quoted an average of Sh1.7 billion. The governor added that the contractor argued that he comes from the county and that he would do the best job.
“It is very embarrassing for the contractor to keep off the work even after receiving an advance payment of Sh80 million,” said Mr Mbiuki.
Governor Njuki said local contractors are a disappointment to government because they are doing very poor work, forcing the government to prefer outsiders and especially the Chinese.
He said residents have continued suffering due to the impassable road a year after Dr Ruto launched its tarmacking promising that work would start immediately.
The leaders asked Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia to have the contract cancelled and awarded to someone who is ready to work.
“Our people are interested in a good road and don’t care where the contractor will come from,” said Mr Njuki.
Mr Mbiuki, who is also the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee in Parliament, said a similar problem is being experienced in the building of dams where crafty contractors receive advance payments and then run away.
He asked the government to stop giving any money to contractors before they start work.