MPs have demanded answers on how the government paid a Sh24.9 million contractor to build a perimeter wall around Mombasa’s Shimo la Tewa Maximum Prison, which later collapsed.
Auditor -General Nancy Gathungu did the 225-meter wall and the speed with which the contract was awarded was featured in the State Department for Correctional Services’ accounts for fiscal year 2020-21.
Interestingly the Department’s Accountant awarded the contract to Trans Border Enterprises Company Limited through restricted bidding in violation of public procurement law.
Before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly, Kenya’s Prisons Services Commissioner-General Brig (Rtd) John Warioba admits that the collapse of the wall is a serious matter that should draw the attention of the National Security Council (NSC), to which President vo
“This is a matter that requires the attention of the NSC.” Brig (Rtd) Warioba, who had accompa, Prison Service Chief Secretary Safina Kwekwe told MPs. PAC Chairman Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) wanted to know if the collapse of the wall could endanger the country’s security, considering the facility houses high-risk convicted criminals Prison Fraud Syndicate
The Oversight Committee was also baffled by the speed with which the contract was awarded in defiance of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act (PPAD) 2015.
Documents provided by Ms. Kwekwe show that the contractor who submitted the bid on April 3, 2017, a tender letter was served. The contract was signed on April 4, 2017, the second day of the award notice. This violates public procurement law.
Section 135(3) of the Act requires the contract to be signed within the period specified in the award notice, but no earlier than 14 days after the award notice. Ms. Kwekwe’s response shows that construction work began on April 21, 2017 and the first payment receipt valued at Sh16.95 million was issued on May 5, 2017 by the State Department for Public Works – the project leader – in favor of Trans Border Enterprises Company Limited.
A second payment certificate of Sh4.97 million was issued and paid on 2 July 2017, while a third payment of Sh2.64 million was made on October 10 Issued 2017 and paid for in June September 2018.
Although the proposed contract period was 16 weeks starting May 4, 2017, actual construction work began on April 21, 2017 and was completed on December 23, 2017 discontinued.
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“It was later reported that on July 24, 2018, 95 meters of the wall in the Area between watchtowers two and three collapsed, injuring a watchtower officer, de r two were occupied at the time,” says the test report. Documents presented to the home show that although construction resumed, the contractor abandoned the site when the wall was 60 percent complete.
The documents also show that the Prison Department at contractors have raised concerns about the construction of the wall on several occasions, but no action has been taken by the prisons or public works. Due to poor workmanship and delays, another 130 meters of the second perimeter wall on the south side collapsed on July 25 last year. This endangered the safety of inmates and staff.
A visit by auditors last October confirmed that the collapsed wall had not been rebuilt and the contractor was not on site. “The value for money of the expenditure on the stalled project could not be determined,” says the audit report.
Although Ms. Kwekwe described the hasty decision to award the contract as an anomaly and that her department “obliges committed to fully complying with established procurement laws and regulations when undertaking similar projects and contractual obligations in the future,” the committee considers this an illegality that should be investigated.
She told the committee nonetheless that it was in a hurry The signing of the contract became necessary because the prison urgently needed the enclosing wall. “The prison holds very vulnerable prisoners and has only one wall. I heard that from colleagues,” Ms Kwekwe said.
The MPs asked her to provide the list of current and former directors of the company. She did not confirm whether she had been prequalified for the post under the Public Procurement Act prior to the advertisement.
However, the PS ran into trouble after failing to explain to the committee why it was accepted long, around the wall to reconstruct.
“You told us that you need two walls because it’s a maximum security prison. Now you say you have more staff, but is that enough to guarantee the prison its status as a maximum security prison?” asked Mr. Wandayi.
Suna West MP Peter Masara added: “As the contract was awarded, it was an emergency. They even awarded it through restricted bidding and paid the entire cost in record time. So when the Wall came down, it wasn’t an emergency anymore? What changed the situation?”
The committee heard that public works officials in Coast were not involved in the construction of the perimeter wall and that those overseeing the project were from Nairobi.
< p>The then-Secretary-General of the Department of Transportation appointed three Department officials to prepare a report after the wall collapsed, but committee auditors said they have yet to see it.
“It was a plan, to divert public funds. It was never about building a wall for the benefit of the country’s security architecture, but about helping some people make money,” said Mr. Wandayi.