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Delay in delivery of Sh1.8bn ferries set to cost taxpayers

 Edward Ouko
Auditor-General Edward Ouko. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenyans might be forced to pay more for delivery of two modern ferries at the Likoni channel due to continued delays.

Public Investments Committee chairman Abdulswamad Nassir said the cost could have escalated as a result of the delay of the vessels that were procured at Sh1.8 billion from Turkey two years ago.

The report said despite a signed deal dated June 27, 2015, indicating that the new ferries were to be delivered after 17 months, they had not been handed over during an audit last November.

Auditor-General Edward Ouko’s efforts to get a confirmation of the exact amount the supplier had received from Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) and the balance were fruitless as the Turkish supplier did not respond to his e-mail dated January 9, 2019.

“In the light of the foregoing, it has not been possible to confirm the validity, accuracy and completeness of the building and supply of two new ferries at a cost of Sh1.5 billion paid to the contractor as at June 2018,” reads the audit report.

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KFS head of procurement Jennifer Sirindi said the contract was awarded to a bidder who was ranked fourth during technical evaluation but provided no explanation as to how the firm was ultimately given the job.

The State agency operates four ferries during peak hours at Likoni channel while one serves Mtongwe. Those currently in operation include MV Jambo, MV Likoni, MV Harambee and MV Nyayo at the Likoni channel while MV Kwale operates at the Mtongwe channel.

It is estimated more than 300,000 passengers and over 6,000 vehicles cross the Likoni and Mtongwe channels between the Mombasa Island and the South Coast mainland every day.

The report said Sh26 million weighbridges on both sides of the Likoni channel, remain idle since their installation in 2016.

The KFS told the committee that the weighbridges were a control measure to enhance safety by estimating the weight of vehicles boarding ferries at the channel.

According to the Auditor-General’s report for the financial year ending June 2018 tabled in Parliament, the KFS was also unable to confirm the validity of the building and supply of the ferries and the accuracy of the cost.

In his report, Mr Ouko said the agency made a down payment of Sh598 million to the locally appointed agent in August 2015 but failed to withhold the six per cent value-added tax of Sh35.8 million and another 20 per cent withholding tax totalling to Sh119.6 million.

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