Economy & Politics

MPs approve award of rail contract to Chinese firm

Transport committee chairman Maina Kamanda. FILE
Transport committee chairman Maina Kamanda. FILE 

A parliamentary committee has cleared the controversial award of the standard gauge railway and called on government to expedite its implementation.

“The committee did not find any illegality or irregularity in the procurement of this project in light of submissions and confirmations made by the Attorney General Githu Muigai and the director general of the Public Procurement Oversight Authority Maurice Juma,” committee chairman Maina Kamanda told MPs.

However, Nyali MP Awiti Bollo, who questioned the capacity of China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) to construct the Sh448 billion railway from Mombasa to Nairobi, said the Transport and Communications committee did not disclose agreements regarding the subcontracting of the project to Kenyan companies.

Mr Awiti said the agreements attached to the report tabled in Parliament by Mr Kamanda do not contain any clauses that will allow Kenyan companies to bid for subcontracts tenders.

“I can’t see any clause allowing Kenyan companies, youth and women to bid for subcontracts,” he said as he sought Speaker Justin Muturi’s permission to postpone discussion on the matter until a parallel report, being developed by the Public Investment Committee, is tabled for debate.

Mr Kamanda’s committee, which probed concerns raised by Mr Awiti on the technical, financial and human capacity of CBRC to undertake the multibillion shillings contract, cleared the Chinese firm to undertake the project.

“The government of Kenya should fast track the signing of the financial agreement with Exim bank of the People ’s Republic of China to enable the project to commence,” the committee concluded.