Puzzle of Sh800m stalled Turkana offices project

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023 03:00 | By
Former Turkana Governor. PHOTO/Print
Former Turkana Governor. PHOTO/Print

Senators were on Sunday left baffled by revelations that Turkana county government under the stewardship of immediate former governor Josphat Nanok spent Sh800 million on the construction of county headquarters but the project has stalled since 2015.

The Senators now want the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and other investigative agencies to probe the county government as it cannot account for the Sh100 billion it has received from the National government as sharable revenue over the last 10 years.

Astounded by the level of corruption, misuse of public funds and diversion of money to non core projects, the lawmakers want the National government to declare Turkana county government a crime scene.

According to the Senators, the Sh 800 million was enough to construct more than 40 boreholes or classrooms. Had the county intended to put up health facilities, the money would have been used to construct at least 10 level three hospitals.

More shocking were revelations that the Nanok regime had spent more than Sh300million for the construction of the Governor’s residence which had equally stalled since 2015, after the contractors abandoned the project midway.

The Senate Public Accounts Committee was told that the tender for the construction of the county’s headquarters, which has been ongoing, was varied from the initial Sh695 million to Sh829 million without justifiable reasons.

Current Governor Jeremiah Lomurkai told the Senators that when he assumed office, he found no serious projects in the county despite Turkana receiving billions of shillings since the inception of devolution.

“The period that this building has taken the county to complete is what is alarming me as the governor. The project’s contract was varied by the previous regime, which is a serious offence,” said Lomurkai.

This even as the lawmakers questioned why Nanok’s regime prioritised putting up the headquarters despite the residents grappling with myriad of challenges including provision of food, clean drinking water and quality healthcare to the residents.

While on a tour of the pending projects in the county, the committee chaired by Homa Bay lawmaker Moses Kajwang’ came face to face with what they termed as a ‘criminal enterprise’ during the tenure of Nanok, who is now the Deputy Chief of Staff at State House.

The committee heard that the governor’s residence stalled years ago after the contractor was paid Sh206 million for only putting up the foundation and a small structure before leaving the site.

A new contractor, who is also working on the county headquarters project, has been brought in to complete the project at a sum of Sh 90.5million.

However, the new contractor has also stopped working after just undertaking slabbing and cladding and demanding for Sh28million.

“There is no way this project can take about Sh300 million. There is no value for money,” said Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna. Kajwang’ said they had expected to see projects such as new health facilities, water and agriculture to account for the over Sh100 billion Turkana has received over the last 10 years but they were instead confronted with stories of one stalled project after another, corruption and mismanagement of financial resources all the way from the county executive to the County Assembly.

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