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Israeli road company SBI Holdings cleared in graft case

Tuesday September 18 2018

Construction of Kericho-Kisumu Highway near

Construction of Kericho-Kisumu Highway near Awasi trading centre. A corruption suit filed against an Israeli-based construction firm has been withdrawn. PHOTO | JACOB OWITI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ABIUD OCHIENG
By ABIUD OCHIENG
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A corruption suit filed against an Israeli-based construction firm has been withdrawn after detectives investigating the matter cleared the company of any wrongdoing.

Israeli authorities, who had flown into Kenya to work with their local counterparts in investigating Solel Boneh International Holdings (SBI Holdings), have now pulled the plug after failing to find any evidence against the firm.

The detectives also failed to find any evidence implicating officials from the Transport ministry accused of receiving bribe from SBI. “After long and intensive investigations, no criminal evidence of corruption or bribery was found against any of the company managers or officials, neither against any Kenyan government officials nor any manager or technocrat with government of Kenya officials and parastatals, amid the false allegations against the company,” read a communication from SBI.

WITHDREW CASE

Mr Shay Skeif, the whistle blower who raised the alarm and filed a case before a court in Israel, withdrew it last Wednesday.

SBI Holdings, a subsidiary of Shikun & Binui, was picked to construct the World Bank-funded Mau Summit-Kericho-Kisumu Highway at a cost of Sh14 billion in 2010.

SBI, which is one of the largest construction firms in Israel, has been bidding for other lucrative projects in Kenya.

The firm’s offices in Kenya were raided in March this year and some of its bank accounts frozen to aid investigations.

Israel police on February 20 opened investigations into the activities of Shikun & Binui’s former senior managers suspected of involvement in bribery of public officials in Kenya to win big tenders.

MAINTAINED HIGH STANDARDS

In the communication sent to newsrooms Monday following the investigations exonerating the firm from any wrongdoing, SBI said it has maintained high standards in its contractual works with the Kenyan government in all sectors, as well as the timely completion of the works, save for reasons beyond their control.

“SBI hereby re-assures of their long time and proved commitment for Zero tolerance against any form or shape of corruption, bribery and graft,” SBI said.

SBI said it is also committed to Corporate Social Responsibility and the transfer of knowledge to its Kenyan employees.