The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is investigating a Ksh600 million scandal that saw outdoor advertising company Magnate Ventures supply faulty screening machines at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
The screening machines supplied by Magnate Ventures from Rapiscan Eagles Gantry (G60) are said to have failed from the word go, putting to question the kind of contract entered between the supplier and the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).
“The investigations are touching on a contract between KAA and M/S Magnate Ventures Limited with the scope being the design and installation of screening facilities at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and other airports,” reads an affidavit filed in court by Samuel Kirichu, an investigating officer from the Banking Fraud Investigation Unit.
The firm was to install and commission full body scanners, X-ray baggage scanner, and X-ray vehicle scanner as well as train security personnel on the three.
The X-ray vehicle scanner was commissioned on September 10, 2015 but was reported to be faulty in January 2017, just a few months after KAA certified it.
In order to avoid a maintenance fees of Ksh9 million per year, KAA through Engineers DN Kamau and Owen Waithaka wrote to Magnate Venture to relief it of maintenance duties.
“We hereby certify that in accordance with clause 30.2 and 30.11 of the FIDIC conditions of contract for electrical and mechanical works, the contractor has fulfilled all his obligations under the contract for defects. You are now required to make an application for a final certificate for payment,” wrote the two in part.
The other machines are said to have malfunctioned two months after the expiry of the warranty, under which they were maintained by Magnate Ventures, and are reported to have been in “bad shape, requiring repairs every now and then”.
In order to cover for the faulty machines, Magnate Ventures’ manager in charge of projects, Mercy Michere, wrote to KAA on February 16, 2017 asking them to have “a maintenance contract in place” that would cost the parastatal the aforementioned fees of Ksh9 million every year.
“We again strongly recommend the need to have a maintenance contract in place. We further gave a quotation for the repairs but were rejected by yourselves on the claim that the G60 was still under warranty. Please note that the defect liability period for this contract was 12 months and by the time this fault occurred, the G60 had been in operation for 15 months, consequently not under warranty,” the letter read in part.
On May 29 this year, G60 wrote to KAA, saying that the state of the machines were ‘so bad’ that they “required more work than anticipated”.The company, just like an earlier demand by Magnate Ventures, wanted to be given a maintenance contract.
“It is our recommendation that the system be replaced under a service maintenance contract which will see it receive the highest level of support and maintenance. A contract proposal can be provided and tailored to suit your needs whilst meeting any budgetary restrictions that you may have,” said the firm’s service coordinator, Jonathan Henshall.
Even as the machines pose a security threat at the airport, KAArequired that the company to issue a tender bid before any discussions were done.
“With regard to maintenance contract, we will have to issue a tender bid document to you in accordance with the procurement law,” wrote KAA.
The airport is currently operating without a proper security check machine at the entrance, which greatly compromises its security.