Daily Nation is reporting that the PS in the Ministry of Information and Communications, Dr Bitange Ndemo, is under investigations for flouting procurement rules in the purchase of the Konza City land. The daily reports that the anti-corruption commission is investigating the PS and his Ministry’s chief procurement officer for allegedly flouting procurement regulations during the purchase of the Konza ICT park land.
Dr Ndemo is alleged to have single sourced the seller of the 5,000-acre property and not going through the recommended open tender. The property was bought from the Machakos based, Malili Ranch Limited at a fee of Sh1 billion.
But speaking through an email, Dr Ndemo categorically denies any wrong doing instead pointing an accusing finger at elements within the government and the media who have no good intentions for the project.
Part of the email reads:
The Procurement Law does not have provisions for purchase of suitable land. If you read Booz Allen on locationing a tech park, there are specific provisions like the land should not be far from the airport; it must be at the outskirts of a major city etc. These in the current law amount to direct purchase.
Yes we can buy land in Turkana but it would not be suitable for a tech park. We consulted the AG and Lands office but someone saw it fit to bring the story when a major conference on Konza is going on.
Konza has been facing many challenges with the coalition government divided in the management of the project. The land in question has not earned the approval of the National Environmental Management Authority or even a government gazette.
Daily Nation reports that the Commission said it had opened fresh investigations into the matter after the Director of Public Prosecutions called for further investigations following their recommendations that Dr Ndemo and the ministry’s chief procurement officer be prosecuted.
Dr Ndemo has denied that there was any money lost but instead saying that the government got closed the deal in a transparent manner.
“The Cabinet had authorised us to buy 10,000 acres but following valuation by the Ministry of Lands that put the price per acre at Sh200,000 we settled for 5,000 acres which were purchased through a competitive tender.”
Three directors of the company which sold the land, Malili Ranch Limited, were arrested for stealing Ksh 143 million from the firm after the sale which saw the government part with Ksh 1 billion for the land. The directors, Josiah Munuka, now deceased, Peter Mutua Kanyi, and Julius Maweu Kilonzo, were later acquitted of the charges.