National Library on the spot for extra Sh837m building cost

Auditor General CPA Nancy Gathungu. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

The Kenya National Library Services (KNLS) is on the spot for varying the cost of building its headquarters in Nairobi by Sh837 million.

A new report tabled in Parliament shows that several variations made during the construction of Maktaba Kuu Building in Upper Hill increased the contract sum by 40 percent or Sh836,651,599.

The construction of the building was to cost Sh2 billion but three variations increased the project cost to Sh2.89 billion.

“However, review of the project records revealed that several variations increased the contract sum by…40 percent contrary to section 139 of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2015 which stipulates that the variation should not exceed 25 percent of the original contract price,” Nancy Gathungu, the Auditor General said in a report to Parliament.

The construction of the Kenya National Library and Headquarters commenced on April 10, 2012 with an expected completion date of January 19, 2017 at a contract sum of Sh2,055,200,200 which excluded consultants’ fees.

The audit shows that the project was granted duration extensions three times by 65 weeks, 72 weeks and 20 weeks with the latest completion date of August 19, 2020.

The board handed over the project to the Cabinet Secretary on August 19, 2020 and the facility was officially opened on November 13, 2020.

Ms Gathungu said a statement of comparison of budget and actual amounts for development budget indicates a total actual expenditure of Sh438.4 million, which includes Sh362.3 million relating to service and Sh42.5 million retention monies.

The audit report indicates that supporting documents were not provided while a deposit register for recording retention monies was not maintained.

“In the circumstances, the accuracy and completeness of work in progress balance of Sh2,849,732,945 could not be confirmed, while management was in breach of the law,” Ms Gathungu said in a qualified audit opinion of KNLS books of accounts for the year to June 2021.

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