Saturday, October 31, 2020

Kenya: EACC grills KPA boss over Sh 1 million bribery claim

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Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director Daniel Manduku was grilled over an attempt to bribe officials investigating a Sh40 billion project at the agency. Early this month, an employee said to have links with top officials, was arrested after she allegedly tried to give Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officers with over Sh1 billion to influence the investigations. Detectives are investigating the controversial Kilindi Oil Terminal (KOT) tender awarded in September last year.

EACC believes the tender for the construction of the oil terminal was inflated. The sleuths have so far taken statements from Manduku and several former and current employees. The government decided to construct the new terminal to increase capacity because the at Kipevu can only handle a vessel at a time, with each vessel’s capacity being 35,000 tonnes. Kipevu currently handles 90 per cent of oil imported to Kenya and petroleum products being transported to neighbouring countries. Last month, former managing director Catherine Mturi Wairi was grilled over the tender. Both Wairi and Dr Manduku have denied any wrongdoing in tendering process. Other than inflating costs, reports indicate the tender committee awarded the contract to a blacklisted firm.

The committee is accused of inflating the cost of the project from Sh26 billion to Sh40 billion. Investigations have since been extended to Nairobi. The final award of the tender was done September 2018, almost four months after Dr Manduku office. Manduku’s summoning followed a court order last week that required EACC to investigate several KPA employees over the alleged bribery plot. Manduku walked into ACK Building, where EACC office is housed, around 12.45 pm and left 45 minutes later. “I will speak to you later. I have to continue with a meeting I had cut short to record a statement here,” Manduku said after the session.

“The KPA MD is among those summoned to shed light on the claims of a plot to bribe EACC officials not to pin KPA officials in the Sh40 billion KOT,” an EACC official, who declined to be named, had earlier said. Manduku’s grilling also comes less than a week after KPA management transferred several employees from various departments including procurement, security and audit.

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