Corruption levels at the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) and the Kenya Rural Roads Authority seem to be escalating after details emerged of possible scandalous deals in the two state bodies.
The two have been involved in possible underhanded deals with a company named Nightingale Enterprises Ltd, whose listed directors include Evelyn Nyambura Mungai, Ephantus Githui Gathekia, Peter Njoroge Muchuku and Samuel Kamau Nduati.
The company, Nightingale, was registered to conduct businesses in stationary sale and digital printing, but is apparently doing road construction works with the two state bodies.
In one of the deals, Nightingale was awarded a tender to do asphalt paving and bush clearing, backfilling of Wajirbor-Qorof harar-Kutulo Road in Wajir East at a cost of Ksh345,900,000 on November 16, 2015.
Five months later, it was indicated that the work was done and a certificate of Service Completion awarded. The notification of tender award in possession of Kahawa Tungu‘s investigative desk indicates that the road was 25.6 kilometres. However, the certificate of completion indicated that the road was 80 kilometres, pointing to a number of discrepancies or hidden information due to certain interests.
The notification of tender award indicated that the management accepted the tender quotation from the company (without question), despite it having no history in construction works.
In another deal involving KeRRA and Nightingale, the company was awarded a tender that entailed rehabilitation and maintenance of Masinga-Wendano Road. The value of the works was not indicated on the certificate of completion, but is thought to have been in the tune of hundreds of millions, more than the one for KeNHA.
According to documents in our possession, the works on the road were completed on November 22, 2015. This means that Nightingale was awarded a tender by KeNHA while still undertaking another one by KeRRA.
The completion certificate was not signed by any officer, despite having been stamped as received by Nightingale.
It is not yet clear whether the two projects were done or were just ghost projects meant to swindle taxpayers.
In 2017, the company indicated that it made a Ksh337,293,727 profit before tax as compared to Ksh273,439,409. Such profits are not synonymous with most stationary and digital printing companies.
One of the directors, Evelyn Nyambura Mungai’s story of grass to grace does not add up. In 2008, a local daily indicated that “she found herself on the boards of numerous organizations — both in Kenya and abroad”, after the death of her husband.
Whatever kind of work she was doing before that, very few people know.
The other director, Ephantus Githui Gathekia died last year in May and little is known about him.
Peter Njoroge Muchuku lives in North Carolina, USA and is barely known locally while little is known about the fourth director, Samuel Kamau Nduati.
Early this month, KeNHA reshuffled its staffers even as graft allegations against it escalate.
In the reshuffle, the Director for Road Asset and Corridor Management James Njuguna Gatitu will now head the Policy Strategy and Compliance docket. On the other hand, the Deputy Director (Roads) Mutii Kivoto will lead Road Asset and Corridor Management Directorate.
“The changes will ensure that issues of quality assurance are effectively implemented to mitigate on the authority’s risk exposure,” said KeNHA Director-General Peter Mundinia.
The body has been on the spotlight for unethical practices, with local contractors accusing the executive of demanding kickbacks in order to award them with tenders.
According to the Roads Civil Engineering and Construction Association, KeNHA has been awarding tenders to under-qualified contractors leading to construction of poor quality roads.
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