KFS team to face MPs over audit

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Mombasa residents use a ferry to cross to Mama Ngina Waterfront for Mashujaa Day celebrations on October 20, 2019. The Kenya Ferry Services has been criticised over poor service delivery.

The management of Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) is expected to face MPs today over numerous audit queries regarding the safety of ferries as raised by the outgoing Auditor-General Edward Ouko.

The National Assembly Public Investment Committee (PIC) chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir is also later this week scheduled to meet the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) and the Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.

Mr Nassir on Monday confirmed to the Nation that the committee will have a meeting with KFS today. “The whole of this week, we have a meeting with KFS, KMA and the CS,” Mr Nassir said.

He said the committee will seek to find out from KFS why it ignored a red flag raised by Mr Ouko on the safety of ferries.

“There are some repairs and servicing of the ferry that had been flagged by the auditor general and no action was taken. These are some of the issues the committee wants KFS to answer,” Mr Nassir said.

OVERHAUL

He added: “We don’t want to pre-empt more but all the issues on KFS are out there in the public domain.”

Mr Nassir was referring to an audit report tabled in the National Assembly last year July where Mr Ouko warned against a disaster waiting to happen as most ferries are defective, thus causing the plows to be submerged when the ferries are moving.

The report also accuses KFS of contravening International Safety Management (ISM) by failing to service its vessels as required, exposing passengers to danger.

The report further says KFS did not meet the set ISM recommendations to ensure the vessels dry-dock after 8,500 hours of operations.

Instead, MV Likoni and MV Kwale operating in the Likoni channel had operated for more than 30,000 hours without mandatory overhaul dry docking.

NEW ENGINES

The MV Kilindini was operating on a 25-year-old steering system that was not compatible with its new engine, which had run 16,000 hours and badly needed an overhaul.

The Sunday Nation reported exclusively that in a leaked memo titled “Road map to improvement of ferry services”, all the ferries were to get new engines, but this never happened; instead, the ferries got a patch-up repair work at inflated costs.

The meeting of ferry officials with MPs also comes amid fears that taxpayers may have lost hundreds of millions of shillings to inflated tenders at KFS after President Uhuru Kenyatta set aside Sh2.7 billion to overhaul the agency in 2016.