The sight of piles of stones, heaps of soil and machinery has become all too familiar to millions of residents and visitors across nine counties earmarked for upgrade of several stadia.
What started as a sweet promise to millions of the nation’s youth and budding sporting talents in 2013 by the Jubilee administration has turned into a source of frustration with billions of taxpayer shillings sunk into the projects, with little or no value to show for the money spent.
In total, taxpayers have spent Sh2.6 billion on the upgrading of 10 stadia. That is over half of the Sh4.4 billion earmarked for the project despite most of the stadiums reporting less than 40 percent completion rates. Most have inexplicably stalled.
The National Assembly committee on Sports, Culture and Tourism has now faulted Sports Kenya— the agency in charge of all sporting facilities for paying the contractors without ascertaining value for money.
“The amount of funds paid is not commensurate to the work that has been done on the ground, it is important to carry out an audit on the payments to ascertain the value for money,” the committee chaired by Mavoko MP Patrick Makau says in its inspection report of the facilities.
The works started in 2017 and were anticipated to take at most three years to complete. That means the contractors had up to December last year to complete the upgrading works which involved overhauling of the football pitches, construction of running tracks, changing rooms, installation of surveillance cameras, drainage systems and seats to accommodate fans.
The Parliamentary committee has, however admits that most contractors won’t deliver the projects any time soon, citing staffing as well as funding challenges with the National Treasury failing to allocate funds in the current financial year.
That means the youth who are eager to hone their soccer, athletics and others skills will have to wait longer for the Jubilee projects.
The stadia are in Makueni, Nyeri, Kiambu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Murang’a, Marsabit, Meru, Tharaka Nithi and Uasin Gishu counties.
Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium refurbishment was 97 percent complete in November last year gobbling Sh980.4 million. The committee report puts the total cost of upgrading the facility at Sh1.156 billion.
Kinoru Stadium will be the second facility to be completed in coming days after an assessment showed that the rehabilitation works were 75 percent complete at end of last year. The contractor has so far pocketed Sh740.88 million. The balance is Sh118.24 million.
But the rest of the facilities across seven counties paint a grim picture with upgrading at less than 40 percent.
In Makueni, Wote Stadium has barely taken shape, but the contractor has already pocketed Sh113.88 million out of the Sh299.31 million allocated for the refurbishment works.
In Chuka, Tharaka Nithi, Sh159.38 million has been paid for Kirubia Stadium with little to show for progress. The project is projected to cost Sh274.2 million.
Taxpayers have paid Sh102.18 million out of Sh259.6 million for the rehabilitation of Karatu Stadium in Gatundu,Kiambu. In Marsabit, contractors have pocketed Sh125.9 million of the Sh259.23 million meant for the upgrading of the Marsabit Stadium.
The Ruringu Stadium has cost Kenyans some Sh84.4 million out of the Sh285.04 million needed to fully refurbish the facility and Sh81.59 million was paid for upgrading of Kamariny Stadium in Elgeyo Marakwet.
The committee did not disclose the budgetary allocation for the upgrading of Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
The project has not taken off amid disagreements after Machakos County government insisted that a new stadium should be built on a 20-acre piece of land. Sports Kenya rejected the push saying that the funds were only for upgrading works.
In Eldoret, the famous Kipchoge Keino famed for churning out the nation’s best track stars has gobbled Sh261.2 million, but is miles away from completion. The two-phased rehabilitation of the facility is expected to cost Sh630.8 million.
With billions of shillings already spent despite lethargic works on the facilities, Parliament has barred Sports Kenya from paying contractors until they deliver, saying that taxpayers must get value for money.
“Sports Kenya should not process additional payments for any company that was paid more than the scope of work they delivered until they deliver work that is commensurate with the payments they were paid,” the committee directed.
Failure by the Treasury to allocate funds for the projects in the year to next June adds to the uncertainty surrounding the completion of the projects that formed a key plank of the Jubilee administration in the 2013 polls.