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Economy

Ombudsman starts probe into delayed pay for companies in 2015 KICC facelift

The Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | MG
The Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | MG 

The Office of Ombudsman has launched investigations into the management of Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) following delay in paying contractors who did renovations during the World Trade Organisation (WTO) conference in December 2015.

The conference contractors are among 1,044 persons who approached the Commission on Administrative Justice (Office of the Ombudsman) to register their complaints between January and June 2017.

According to the commissions’ bi-annual report, the conference contractors allege that they were hired to do some renovations at the KICC during the 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation in 2005.

“Since then, they have not been paid their dues. The commission has initiated an inquiry which is ongoing,” said Leonard Ngaluma, commission secretary and chief executive.
This comes in the wake of Auditor-General Edward Ouko’s audit that put the KICC on the spot for offering irregular contracts worth Sh1.4 billion — some to fake companies — during the WTO conference.

Mr Ouko said 15 companies were awarded contracts between July 13 and September 30, 2015, for Sh1,432,333,345 ahead of the December 2015 conference, with the management accused of irregularly awarding deals to fictitious firms.

Fred Simiyu was suspended as KICC chief executive on November 27, 2015, shortly before the WTO conference.

Nana Gecaga, niece of President Uhuru Kenyatta, was appointed acting CEO in April 2016 before her confirmation to the post in December last year.

The commission is mandated to investigate complaints of abuse of power, unfair treatment and unfair or unresponsive official conduct within the government.

Mr Ouko said KICC has, so far, received claims amounting to Sh701 million from various suppliers for works, which have not been paid for due to a lack of or inadequate documentation.

The auditor singled out the ex-KICC chief executive for awarding 15 out of 17 tenders through single sourcing.

Mr Ouko also accused the KICC board of direct involvement in the revision of tenders, especially the supply and installation of computerised conference management systems.

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