All eyes on Kaberia

By Mercy Mwai
Thursday, March 25th, 2021
Former Sports Principle Secretary Kirimi Kaberia (centre) together with Nyayo Stadium contractor Chandra Babaria (right) and former parliamentary committee chairman Victor Munyaka (left) inspect the facility in 2017. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO
In summary

Parliament wants the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Sports who served in the financial years 2017 and 2018 to be held liable for breeches realised during the award of a contract for the installation of security equipment in various stadiums, as the country prepared in vain to host the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

Kirimi Kaberia who is the current Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Mining, served in the same capacity at the Sports docket during the said period, from April 2017 to January 2020.

“The Accounting Officer during the year under review (2017-2018) should be held liable for the breaches, particularly contravention of section 68(2)(e) of the Public Finance Management Act 2012 read together with Regulation 97 of PFM Regulations 2015 and Section 9 (1) (e) of the Public Audit Act 2015,” reads the report in part.

In a report tabled at the National Assembly yesterday by the Public Accounts committee (PAC) chaired by Ugunja Member of Parliament Opiyo Wandayi, the legislators regretted that as of today, the only stadium that is close to attaining the CAF/FIFA and IAAF standards is Kasarani.

According to the committee, the National Treasury should on its part ring fence all money meant for approved projects for international sporting events especially when Kenya is the host adding that any hosting rights by Kenya that have not been funded by Treasury two years after winning the hosting rights must be surrendered.

During the preparation for the CHAN 2018 event, Kenya was to do renovation on five premium pitches to international standards and 10 training pitches.

The works were to be done on the Jomo Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, Moi Kinoru Stadium in Meru, Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret, Nyayo and Kasarani stadiums, both in Nairobi.

Consequently, the legislators also want Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to, within three months of the adoption of the report,   investigate a company by the name M/S Auditel Engineering and Services and all its directors over their engagement with the State Department for Sports Development on the questionable contract.

M/S Auditel Kenya Ltd and M/S Gregori International were the ones given the contract to do the renovations of the stadia.

According to the Wandayi-led committee, upon the establishment of any criminal culpability, the EACC should make appropriate recommendations to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) without undue delay.

The recommendations by the committee comes after it emerged that despite being paid Sh330.5 million as 20 per cent advance payment based on a security guarantee issued by a bank in Madrid, Spain, which expired on February 28, 2018 to do the works, the firm went bankrupt and disappeared without completing its work.

The Committee regretted that its efforts to have M/S Auditel Engineering and Services appear before it bore no fruits as they were unable to locate the Company and its promoters, both locally and internationally.

Further it also emerged that despite going bankrupt and failing to execute the installation, the firm still sought renewal of their contracts and additional payments.

“Upon receiving the sum of Sh 330, 537,997, M/S Auditel Engineering and Services literally disappeared into thin air; The EACC should, within three months of tabling and adoption of this report by the House, initiate a comprehensive investigation into M/S Auditel Engineering,” adds the report.

Kaberia who had appeared before the committee told MPs that M/s Auditel works involved delivery and Installation of Security, Access Control, Communications, Audiovisual and Pitch Lighting Systems in Various Stadiums while Mos Gregori International role was procured to offer soft services, grass services, pitch construction, surface laying and irrigation systems and pitch maintenance.

With regards to Gregory international, the Mps recommended that the Accounting Officer ensures that any equipment rightfully belonging to the company and currently in the custody of the State Department is immediately released to the firm under mutually agreed terms;

Further it also wants the accounting Officers of Sports and National Treasury to jointly ensure that any pending contract payments due to Gregori International, against which the requisite completion certificates have been authenticated, are settled under mutually agreed terms;

Gregori International did not complete the works as per the contract due to delays in payments by the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts forcing it to abandon works mid-way.

The company was paid a partial amount of Euro 1,807,878.16 with a balance of Euro 4,676,216.84 pending.

“In order for the public to derive true value for money, the State Department for

Sports Development should consider developing plans to have any pending works completed under appropriate contractual terms taking into account the time-lapse and consequential cost implication,” the report reads in part.

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