Economy

ICT Authority boss claims sack threat over Nairobi Expressway budget

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ICT Authority (ICTA) chief executive, Katherine Getao. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The ICT Authority (ICTA) chief executive, Katherine Getao, has claimed that she was threatened with sacking for declining to provide Sh180 million for the relocation of internet cables from the new Nairobi Expressway construction corridor.
  • She told Parliament that unnamed politicians unsuccessfully tried to pressure her to release the amount which the agency had not budgeted to spend.

The ICT Authority (ICTA) chief executive, Katherine Getao, has claimed that she was threatened with sacking for declining to provide Sh180 million for the relocation of internet cables from the new Nairobi Expressway construction corridor.

She told Parliament that unnamed politicians unsuccessfully tried to pressure her to release the amount which the agency had not budgeted to spend.

“I was threatened with sacking in this project. I had been told to leave the institution by December 31, last year. Most of the tension that occasion that threat came from such political projects,” Ms Getao told the Senate committee on ICT without revealing the identities of individuals who had supposedly tried to coerce her to sign off the cash.

The official said the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) instead stepped in and provided the amount.

SH180 MILLION

“We had no money because our budget had already been slashed by half. The Sh180 million that was used to relocate internet infrastructure along the Nairobi Expressway came from KeNHA,” she told the committee.

Ms Getao said the ICT Authority had been mandated to oversee relocation and permanent fixing of fibre infrastructure for both government and private sector to reduce downtime of services during construction.

China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) is building the 27.1kilometre Nairobi Expressway which targets to link the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to James Gichuru Road on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

The Sh59 billion project launched in October 2019 by President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to take three years to complete and help reduce traffic through the city centre. It involves the construction of four-lane and six-lane dual carriageway within the existing median strip of the Mombasa Road/Uhuru Highway/Waiyaki Way and 10 interchanges.

The construction has affected the utilities along the road, including water, sewerage, power and fibre infrastructure.

KeNHA last year said it would spend about Sh4.5 billion to relocate infrastructure such as power lines, fibre optic cables, water and sewerage pipes from the Nairobi Expressway construction corridor.

Taxpayers have already spent Sh2.1 billion to relocate water and sewerage lines along the highway.