The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) is hiring an international airport engineering firm to audit stalled projects that have cost taxpayers billions of shillings without completion, Parliament has been told.
KAA managing director Jonny Andersen told the National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee (PIC) that the technical audit will “look at everything we have, including resurfacing of runways.”
Mr Andersen said the international airport engineering company will help KAA plan and budget for its projects for timely and cost-effective delivery.
“The engineering firm should help us plan our projects better, on time and on budget because in the past five years, this has been a challenge,” he said.
PIC, which is chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, heard that KAA's structural engineering department has not changed for more than a decade.
“We do not have the right competence and I want to change this going forward. We will be seeking advice from a reputable airport engineering company from outside to conduct a technical audit, inventory of what we have and look at everything, including the resurfacing of our runways,” Mr Andersen said in response to questions over the large number of stalled and abandoned projects, whose costs have either been varied upwards or paid for in full before completion.
One such loss for the taxpayers was in the Sh4.3 billion paid in advance to a Chinese contractor M/S ACEG-CATIC JV construction of a new terminal that never took off.
“What you see in the Auditor-General’s findings is the same thing that I see. We are unable to complete many projects on time, to quality and according to budget,” Mr Andersen said.
Going forward, he said, KAA needs a sustainable solution to this challenge and has chosen to seek help from outside.
MPs asked KAA engineer Fred Odawo to explain how Sh23 million was spent on a non-existent site office that was to be used during construction of a terminal that bunt down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
PIC also questioned the Sh8.9 million spent on construction of an ablution block and security offices at Wilson Airport that was terminated two weeks to completion but after Sh3.1 million was spent.
Auditor-General Edward Ouko has also flagged the Sh336 million spent on demolition and construction of JKIA’s arrivasl hall that burnt down in 2015.
The contract awarded to Mashiri Limited was to be competed in August 2015 and the contractor required to put up a site office.
“After the fire, the contractor was to build temporary offices at a cost of Sh23 million but the contractor operated from one of the existing offices at JKIA. I went to verify personally and when we asked the managers to show us the site office, they couldn’t because there was none,” Kalinda Muli, the auditor in charge of KAA told MPs.
This was despite Mr Andersen’s submission that the temporary offices, stores and other facilities were verified.
Kinangop MP Kwenya Thuku demanded to know why the contractor was paid Sh23 million when a site office was not built as stipulated in the bill of quantities.
“Yes the contractor used part of security offices of the building that burnt. The offices were existing offsite, but within airport land,” Mr Odawo said.
The MPs accused KAA engineers and procurement officers of deliberate attempts to award contracts and terminate midstream for kickbacks.