Secretary wants Sh4bn Pattni award probed

Businessman Kamlesh Pattni. Photo/SALATON NJAU
Businessman Kamlesh Pattni. Photo/SALATON NJAU 

A Cabinet secretary wants Parliament to probe the controversial award of Sh4.16 billion ($49 million) to businessman Kamlesh Pattni over the ownership dispute of the World Duty Free shops.

Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet secretary Michael Kamau told the respective Parliament Committee chaired by Starehe MP Maina Kamanda to look into how the contract to operate duty free shops and advertisement in all aerodromes in Kenya was awarded in perpetuity.

“I invite the committee to look into the issue of the contract and the company which was given a contract to operate the shops, which seems to have been granted for eternity. We need this committee to help us on this matter,” he said.

Mr Kamau said one of the lawyers who represented the ministry in the arbitration process was later found to be a Pattni lawyer. Transport Permanent secretary Karanja Kibichu said the contract also covered airports that would be built in future.

Mr Pattni took the dispute to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington when the Kenya Airports Authority sought to stop the tender in the late 90s.

“He was awarded $49 million and an order that Mr Pattni reverts back to eternal ownership of the duty free shops. We have appealed and KAA has obtained orders of stay,” Dr Kibichu said.

Financial constraints

Dr Kibichu expressed confidence that the Court of Appeal would rule in favour of KAA. Mr Kamau said he would brief the committee once the courts determine the matter.

Kenya Railways Corporation MD Nduva Muli said modernisation of the rail network within Nairobi had started with the Syokimau railway station which serves 2,000 commuters daily.

The project, which have been curtailed by financial constraints, entails the construction of 28 railway stations.