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African Development Bank bans contractor over fraud in Sh3.6 billion sewer line works


A sewer system upgrade. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has banned a local construction firm for more than a year over fraud in the Sh3.64 billion upgrade of a key sewer line in Nairobi.

AfDB disclosed the 15-month debarment of Joycot General Contractors, one of the local construction firms in the Nairobi Rivers Basin Rehabilitation and Restoration project.

The ban locks out the firm from all projects funded by the pan-African lender, once again shining the spotlight on Kenyans caught in the corruption purge of AfDB.

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“The African Development Bank Group, on September 25, 2023, announces the 15-month debarment of Joycot General Contractors Ltd effective 8 September 2023,” AfDB said in a statement.

The financier said that the local firm engaged in fraudulent practices during tendering for the construction of reticulation sewers in Kahawa West, Kahawa Sukari, a component of the project.

The project started in November 2018 and aims to improve access and sustainability of the wastewater services in Nairobi and involves the construction of 440-kilometre underground pipes to provide sewer services to about one million residents.

The upgrade was to be completed this year but there have been fears that this may not be achieved due to slow work.

Blacklisting by AfDB qualifies for cross-debarment by other development banks under the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions, highlighting the financial hit on Joycot General Contractors.

Other lenders in the debarment agreement are the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Kenyan firms suspected of underhand dealings in projects funded by the AfDB and World Bank have recently come under increased scrutiny, leading to the blacklisting of several firms.

The two lenders — two of the biggest financiers of infrastructural projects in Kenya — blacklisted at least 20 firms between 2020 and 2022.

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Firms that were banned in this period include Eva-Top Agencies, Madujey Global Services, Techno Brain (Kenya) Limited, Aerospace Aviation, Beta Trading Company, Global Interjapan (Kenya) Limited and Sony Commercial Agencies.

AfDB recently started hiring consultants to scrutinise local firms keen to bid on its projects to ensure the proposals meet its quality standards.

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