Kisumu Pays Contractors For Half Job Done

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Mbita Causeway in Mbita Town, Homa Bay after it was built. The Auditor-General is questioning the Homa Bay County government for paying contractors who did not complete their work. Courtesy.

The Auditor-General is questioning the Homa Bay County government for paying contractors who did not complete their work.

The report points to incidents where county officials may have used projects to divert money and still indicated in records that it was paid out to contractors.

The construction of the 33 kilometre Kadongo-Gendia road is an example of a stalled project that has raised audit queries after it emerged that three firms were paid even without completing the work.

The 2016/2017 audit report revealed that three construction companies were paid a total of Sh302,843,516 before completing the work.

The firms include Bridgestone Construction Company, Nairobi Logistics and Pepeta Holdings Limited.

The Homa Bay County government awarded three firms the tender to construct the road to bitumen standards in 2015 at a combined cost of Sh687,270,372.

But on Monday, Finance Executive Nicholas Koriko defended the county government saying some contractors whose works were in question were withdrawn and replaced with others.

“Some of the projects in question at the time of the audit have now been completed, including the hospital that is now open to the public. The construction work at the heath facility was awarded to another person who could do the job better. The stadium on the other hand is constructed in phases. The first phase is currently ongoing,” he said.

The executive added that payments can only be made after work has been completed.

Mr Koriko refuted claims on the audit report that payment for some projects were made before the work was done.

“The law is clear that work can only be paid for after being certified. Our officers had to make sure that the construction of the said projects was complete before authorising any payment,” he said.

The contract period was 12 months between October 2015 and October 2016 and each firm was expected to work on 11 kilometres.

However, by June 30, 2017, the report indicates that the amount had been paid for stalled work.

The payments are Bridge stone (Sh78 million), Nairobi Logistics (Sh117.65 million) and Pepeta Holdings Ltd (Sh107.19 million).

“At the time of physical verification, the road had not been done to the expected standards as some sections had cracks and peeled off before the works were completed,” the audit reads.

“The Pepeta Limited had not tarmacked even three kilometres of its section,” the report adds.

The county government allocated a total of Sh687,270,373 for the building the road.

But the Auditor-General expressed fears that the public may not obtain value for money invested in the projects.

At the Homa Bay County Referral Hospital, the audit report revealed that in the 2014/2015 financial year, contractor M/S Nyobu Enterprises was awarded a tender to renovate the hospital at a cost of sh111 million.

According to the project implementation status report, the amount certified and paid to the contractor amounted to Sh17.886 million of
which Sh5 million was paid to the contractor in the 2016-2017 financial year.

“The contractor was not on site at the time of audit verification and had only completed a car park while construction of the gate estimated to cost Sh1.5 million had stalled,” the report revealed.

Another misappropriation of funds is revealed in the fencing and face-lifting of the Homa Bay County Stadium.

On June 20, 2016, the Homa Bay government awarded Manjano Enterprises Limited a tender to build a perimeter wall and related works for the stadium at a cost of Sh28.228 million.

The firm was paid a total of Sh5.586 million but failed to complete the work.

According to the report, the project had stalled by January 4, 2018.

“The contractor had erected columns (pillars) covering half of the stadium’s perimeter only but thereafter abandone