The controversy surrounding the Sh40 billion Kipevu Oil Terminal project continued to deepen Tuesday after Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) acknowledged awarding the tender to a company they knew had been blacklisted.
When he appeared before the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for questioning over the awarding of the tender, Managing Director Daniel Manduku said it was known that the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) had been outlawed by the World Bank.
“We however sought clarification, and the company had already declared the debarment issue, which was in line with tender conditions. Yes, we were aware of all those issues,” said Dr Manduku.
Asked why it was not given to another company, Dr Manduku said the debarment that the Chinese company was facing was in regard to World Bank projects related to roads and bridges.
“The procurement authority also cleared the tender, and by the time it was being awarded the company had already given us the required information,” he added.
The KPA floated the tender on March 23, 2016 and 31 bidders from at least 15 countries showed interest, and by that time CCCC was still under debarment.
The CCCC’s parent company, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), had been blacklisted by the World Bank in 2009 for an eight-year period until January 12, 2017, after an investigation discovered that CRBC had “engaged in collusive practices in World Bank-funded projects in the Philippines”.
The information, which is available on the World Bank’s debarred list, also said that CRBC had colluded with Philippines’ state officials to enter “non-competitive, artificially high bid prices”.
The unusual awarding of the contract is part of investigations by the EACC into the matter, in addition to allegations that the cost of the project was inflated from Sh15 billion to Sh25 billion, and then to Sh40 billion.
Dr Manduku was appearing before the commission for the second time after he was first questioned on Thursday last week over the matter.
“This is not the first time I am here, but they asked me to be here today. They are looking at the whole process, including whether procurement laws were followed,” he told Nation journalists outside EACC offices at ACK building on Nkurumah Road.
The EACC detectives are also investigating the decision to include a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) component to the terminal, which was not in the original design but would definitely make the construction cost go up.