Transport nominee Kipchumba Murkomen to make SGR contract public

Senator Kipchumba Murkomen before the vetting committee on October 19, 2022. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Roads, Transport and Public Works Cabinet Secretary nominee Kipchumba Murkomen will make public contract details of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) whose total cost has now hit Sh670 billion should Parliament approve his appointment.

Mr Murkomen told the National Assembly’s Committee on Appointment that the details of the contract have remained opaque despite Kenyans pushing to know whether the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) was used to guarantee the loans.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration opposed pleas to make public SGR contracts, arguing they contain non-disclosure clauses and its release would endanger national security and injure relations between Kenya and China.

“I have spoken to everybody whom I thought was a person of influence in government and privy to the SGR contract but they have said they have never seen the SGR agreement,” Mr Murkomen told MPs yesterday.

“I don’t want to name those I spoke to, but once I get into the office, I will look for it.”

In July, President William Ruto promised to make public contract details of the SGR and the Nairobi Express Way, both key projects of his predecessor Kenyatta.

The High Court in Mombasa in May ordered the government to provide two activists with agreements relating to the construction of the SGR line project.

Transport Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge said in court documents that the SGR agreements have non-disclosure clauses.

“If approved, my first business will be to look for the SGR contract and make it public to Kenyans with the help of the National Assembly,” he said.

“I will find where the agreement is, and give it to the people of Kenya as soon as I take over office.”

Mr Murkomen said if the port of Mombasa is exposed to the Chinese, Kenyans need to know if it was used as a guarantee.

*Story updated.

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