Chief auditor’s office caught up in port deal dispute

Tuesday, August 15th, 2023 04:15 | By
Former Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho
Former Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho. PHOTO/Courtesy

The office of the Auditor General has been sucked into a dispute pitting the Kenya Railways Corporation and a firm associated with former Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho (pictured) and tycoon Mohammed Jaffer.

The auditor, in a special report, told MPs last week that the procedures followed to have a contractual agreement between KRC and a firm associated with Joho to handle bulk cargo was not transparent and lacked the requisite documents with a clear audit trail.

According to the report, Autoports Freight Terminal Limited was awarded a contract on concessionary terms to operate at the taxpayer-funded inland cargo terminal in Nairobi in 2018 based on forgeries of board resolutions by the then-acting KRC managing director.

Committee matters

It has however emerged that the auditor never consulted the corporation nor Autoports Freight Terminal Limited before writing the report to get their side of the story.

An MP who sought anonymity said the report by Jeff Otieno, an auditor from the OAG, did not seek from KRC the reasons behind the issuance of the contract to Autoports Limited.

The MPs, sought anonymity because parliamentary rules do not allow them to discuss committee matters outside the house. The MPs accused the auditor of failing to seek from the corporation how the two competing firms, Autoports Freight Terminal and Grain Bulk Haulers Limited were allocated land by KRC.

The legislators now accuse the auditor of skewing the report to favour one party and portray the other as irregular.

“The auditor did not ask for the leases of the said land from the tenderer which was a very serious omission,” said the MPs.

The lawmakers are also questioning the auditor’s motivation to concentrate the probe on the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi and chose to ignore the Mombasa port.

The committee will sit on Thursday when members will interrogate Otieno on his findings.

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