A Chinese firm associated with businessman Jimmi Wanjigi is demanding Sh22 billion as compensation for the termination of a contract to build a new terminal at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
ACEG-CATIC for which Wanjigi is the local representative, had been contracted to build the Greenfield Terminal at an estimated cost of Sh64 billion.
However, the tender was cancelled in March 2016 even after Sh75 million had been spent on a groundbreaking ceremony presided over by Uhuru Kenyatta on May 2014.
By the time the contract was invalidated, the Chinese firm received Sh4.3 billion from the Kenya Airports Authority for termination of the contract.
Through a letter dated November 10 2017, the contractor reportedly submitted a claim of Sh17.6 billion to KAA.
Embu governor Martin Wambora, his Laikipia counterpart Francis Kimemia and Kipipiri MP Amos Munya have been summoned to appear before national assembly’s public investments committee over the botched tender.
Wambora was chair of the KAA board at the time of the cancellation of the Greenfield deal, while Kimemia was head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet. On the other hand, Kimunya was the Transport minister then. Also summoned to appear before PIC are the KAA tender committee members.
In documents tabled before the parliamentary committee, the Chinese contractor is demanding Sh2 billion from KAA for the preparation of bill of quantities, Sh2.4 billion in extra costs and a further Sh708 million VAT.
What is more worrying is that the Chinese firm wants KAA to pay Sh500 million in interest and penalties for delayed payment of VAT charged by the Kenya Revenue Authority. The firm is also demanding Sh5.6 billion compromising balance for the bill of quantities, extra cost claims, interest, penalties and VAT.
Appearing before PIC, KAA managing director Jonny Andersen said the Sh17.6 billion claim is yet to be verified. Andersen told the committee chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir that having come “to clean this illegal contract”, he wants back the Sh4.3 billion paid to the Chinese contractor.
It transpired that the KAA invalidated the Greenfield tender in March 2016 due to alleged material differences between the terms of the request for proposal and the construction contract.
Although the then Attorney-General Githu Muigai gave the contract a clean bill of health, he approved of KAA’s termination of the same for noncompliance with the law.