Nyanza leaders are accusing the government of a plot to auction the just completed Sh4 billion Lake Basin Development Authority mall in Kisumu.
Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandai and his Nyando counterpart, Fred Outa, said there is an intentional delay in handing over of the magnificent mall to provoke the financing bank to auction it.
The two lawmakers have faulted the Ministry of Devolution and Planning’s recent request to the Attorney- General’s office to give further advice on the status of the mall before it can proceed with the handing over.
“We believe there is an attempt by some government functionaries to initiate the auction of this magnificent mall and sell it for a song to businessmen associated with government,” said Mr Wandai.
He said all State agencies, including a multi-agency committee set up by the government to advice on the project, had endorsed it.
“A multi-agency team was constituted to further advice on the project. This committee comprised officers from the Attorney-General’s office, the Treasury, Ministry of Devolution and Planning, Department of Public Works, and Office of the Auditor General. The committee gave the project a clean bill of health,” said the Ugunja MP.
He said even parliamentary committees, including that of Finance,Trade and Environment and Natural Resources, toured the project and gave approval.
“It is therefore inexplicable that the Ministry of Devolution and Planning instead of advising the Treasury to pay the Co-operative Bank and contractors to finalise the handing over of this important project has turned again to the AG to ask for further advice,” said Mr Wandai.
The mall built with borrowed funds is accumulating Sh1.8 million in interest per day and the MPs warned that the government could be forced to pay double if handing over is not done.
Mr Outa said the project has faced frustration since 1982 when it was initially proposed and urged Devolution and Planning minister Mwangi Kiunjuri to steer clear of unnecessary politics that may jeopardise the project.
“This was a good project funded by the State and money has been appropriated by Parliament to pay. It is sad that someone is playing games,” he said.
Mr Outa gave the government 48 hours to initiate the handling over of the controversial project.
The MPs said they would tomorrow tour the mall in Kisumu to confirm its completion, adding that several tenants who had booked space are now worried.
“Potential tenants are said to have booked more than 70 per cent of the mall space. Among these is Tuskys Supermarkets,” said the Nyando MP.
He said the delay was being perpetuated by some senior government officials keen on a progressive economic sabotage of the region.
“This mall will be a source of employment to our people. We plead with those playing games to stop it now,” said Mr Outa.