Kitui governor Charity Ngilu is on the spot for allegedly orchestrating a multi-million scandal involving her son-in-law John Oduor and EDN George Diesel Ltd company.
According to documents in our possession, Ngilu’s administration awarded a stone crusher project to EDN George Diesel Ltd in May 2018, in what looked like a noble project aimed at helping residents.
However, Kahawa Tungu learns that EDN, owned by George Mungai and Nancy Wachira, was awarded the tender under the condition that they would open a new bank account with Sidian Bank that would accommodate Mr Oduor as a mandatory signatory to the account.
The account was opened on May 23, 2018, and the contract for importation, installation and commissioning of the stone crusher plant awarded to EDN two days later, on May 25, 2018.
Original costs, according to quotation dated January 2018 from a leading stone crusher manufacturer in china, were estimated at Ksh21,243,300 for cost insurance and freight (CIF) up to Mombasa.
However, the new ‘consortium’ went ahead to source for the machine from Shanghai Zenith Minerals Sales Ltd, and a proforma invoice was forwarded to them via email valuing the consignment at USD379,532 (Ksh38 million) CIF to Mombasa.
At this stage, an import declaration form # E1807897755 was prepared and approved by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) customs department on July 6, 2018. Ksh17,061,098 was paid by the county government to EDN George Diesel Ltd through their new account with sidian bank.
However, on October 16, 2018, the supplier company, Shanghai Zenith, issued another invoice for the same machine raising the CIF to Mombasa to USD396,232 (Ksh39.6 million).
This was more than a month after another Import declaration form based on the new figures had been approved by the KRA on August 26, 2018, raising more questions than answers.
The machine was shipped and landed in Mombasa Port on November 11, 2018, and cleared via customs entry number 2018 ICD 60812 which only shows Ksh1,463,269 was paid as customs dues through the NIC bank on November 27, 2018.
A private investigation shows that for the company to allow such margins, tenderpreneurs paid at least 10 percent of the theft margin, while the rest of the amount was wired back to the ‘dealer’s’ account after transaction.
A whistle blower, who sought anonymity, contacted the sales manager who sold the machine to EDN, and requested for a quotation for a similar 100-120 tons/hr capacity crusher. The manager responded with a quotation amounting to USD208,499 (Ksh20.85 million).
“I went ahead and asked the sales manager Shanghai Zenith minerals sales CO, ltd whether I could factor in my margins on their cost and pay USD300,150 for the plant and they refund the difference of USD91,651 based on their formal quotation.
“Quick response came through and I quote “ we could do this for you but a 10 percent fee will be charged . This is our company rule. As a result you will have back USD82,486 as USD9,165 will be charged”. The sales manager went ahead and complied with my request and generated another proforma invoice totaling USD300,150 dated September 6, 2019,” says the whistleblower.
In the whole transaction, it is estimated that the county lost at least Ksh19 million, to cater for Mr Oduor, Ngilu’s son-in-law.
According to a report by the auditor general covering the 2018/19 financial year, the machine was not in the procurement plan contrary to Section 53(2) of Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2015.
The report further notes that no tender evaluation report was availed, particulars of the persons who submitted tenders or their representatives who attended the opening of tenders contrary to Section 78(10) (b) of the Act.
Also, the county did not furnish the auditor with regret letters to unsuccessful bidders for audit review contrary to Section 87(3) of the Act. Further, the geological survey report on suitability and viability of the project was not availed.
Stakeholders are calling upon anti-graft agencies to move with speed and investigate the saga, in which the project is yet to be completed.