The directors of two international companies that bid for the Sh43 billion tender for the construction of a new oil pipeline from Mombasa to Nairobi have been summoned to appear before Parliament after they failed to honour invitations.
The management of Zakhem International, which won the contract, and China Petroleum Engineering Company, will now be compelled to appear before the Public Investments Committee (PIC) on October 1 and next Tuesday respectively.
The Constitution gives parliamentary committees powers similar to those of the High Court.
The committees have powers to compel anybody to appear before it and give evidence.
The House team, which was scheduled to separately hear the directors of the two companies over the award of the tender, was forced to issue orders directing the appearance.
PIC declined to hear submissions from senior counsel Waweru Gatonye when he appeared on behalf of the Lebanese firm Zakhem International.
The Chinese firm which challenged the award of the contract to Zakhem sent a letter to the committee indicating that it was unwilling to pursue the matter and that its directors would not appear before the House team.
Zakhem International won the tender after quoting the lowest bid at Sh43 billion, beating 12 other companies.
PIC is investigating the award of the tender and has since advised the government to stop the contract until the ongoing investigations are completed.
The committee directed Auditor General Edward Ouko to conduct a special audit on the procurement of the contract. The auditors are yet to present their report.
“The Chinese company must honour the summonses to appear before this House in line with Article 125 of the Constitution,” Adan Keynan, who chairs the committee, ruled.
He said the committee would take “serious steps” to ensure that all foreign companies which fail to honour House summonses are barred from transacting business in Kenya.
“They have been summoned. I don’t know if they know the consequence. We may bar them from doing business in Kenya. If an entity refuses to appear before PIC, we will recommend that they can’t do business in Kenya. We have the powers to bar them,” Mr Keynan said.