Auditor-General calls out shoddy work on Mau Mau Road

Ongoing construction of Mau Mau Road in Nyeri County. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Auditor-General has raised the alarm over the poor quality of work done by a contractor on the Nyeri section of the Sh30 billion Mau Mau Road project, which could see taxpayers incur huge repair costs.

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu says in a new report published this month that the contractor for the Mau Mau Road Lot III, which covers Nyeri County, did not do proper drainage on the road, even as construction lags behind schedule.

The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) awarded the tender for the construction of the road, which is part of the larger Mau Mau Road project, at a cost of Sh4.51 billion.

“The main road drainage banks had not been reinforced by stone pitching and loose soil on the drainage sides were falling down inside the drainage channels on several sections of the road,” said Ms Gathungu.

“Delayed maintenance/repair works may result in further deterioration of the defects attracting huge repair costs. In the circumstances, effectiveness and efficiency in use of public resources could not be confirmed.”

KeNHA awarded the road tender for 36 months in February 2020 but was later extended to 47 months. The contractor was further awarded another extension of 337 days to complete the project.

However, the Auditor-General reveals that physical inspection carried out in July 2023 revealed the amount certified to that point, which had been fully settled was Sh1,775,574,791 and stood at 39.28 percent of the contract sum. “The inspection revealed that spur roads works were at the initial stages and behind schedule despite the revised completion date of February 18, 2024,” said Ms Gathungu.

The Mau Mau Road, once complete, will traverse Murang’a, Kiambu, Nyeri and Nyandarua counties.

KeNHA has been awarding contracts for the road in lots covering each of the counties. The project has been controversial with stiff resistance from environmentalists over its effect on the Aberdare Forest ecosystem.

The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) had failed to approve an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) report for the project, delaying its implementation.

Further, the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said construction of the road that will cut across Aberdare Forest was interfering with the local ecosystem.

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