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Citizen Weekly

Monday, 15 September 2014

ROT UNEARTHED IN MALAVA CONSTITUENCY PROJECTS



Leaders in Malava constituency have been accused of engaging in bribery demands to award road tenders to contractors whom in turn have done shoddy work on the allocated routes.

The alleged leaders, from the area MP Malulu Injendi, to reps are said to be on the forefront in demanding kickbacks and awarding verbal contracts to the contractors who use their own money to carry out the works and only end up not being paid upon completion of the work.

The revelations have emerged after roads within the constituency that were graveled became impassable forcing boda boda operators to demonstrate.
Investigations reveal that there is a clique of operatives who are working in cahoots with the ward representatives and even the area MP that is said to be demanding bribes before the tenders can be awarded to the contractors.

A case in point is Musungu to Lusumu bridge road which was verbally awarded to a contractor John Marani but after completion of the works,  the procurement office was unable to pay him as he did not follow due process of tendering as required by law.
It is alleged that the contractor had spent close to Sh1 million that he can only be paid in the next disbursement of funds.

Marani who is now a bitter man had allegedly been awarded the contract by Mugai/Shirugu MCA Albert Wetundu. Asked why he was awarded the contract verbally, the contractor said county representatives were money hungry and had received bribes even from roads that were not earmarked by the county government but he was hesitant to divulge if he had also paid any bribe to Wetundu.

But sources close to MCAs disclose that many contractors are on their necks demanding either contracts or a refund of their bribes and therefore end up being awarded ghost contracts. 
Marani has also accused area MP of awarding tenders without even advertising, a case in point being the Malava-Lugusi road which is 2.7 kilometres and is incomplete even after spending Sh4.4 million on it. The contract in question was awarded to a one Steve Malumasi through his Silwa Construction Company and of which the MP who hails from the same area is alleged to be also demanding for kickbacks, according to Marani.

Other roads which have been cited in the scandal and are all found in East Kabras ward include Kakoyi- Mukhuyu, which is said to have cost Sh1.2 million, Bunuku Bridge to Bunuku Primary at Sh600,000, Shianda to Forest at Sh 2 million with a resident Machoni Chiteyi accusing the area MCA Peter Mwombe of employing unqualified contractors whom he alleges cough bribes to him yet end up doing shoddy jobs.

Asked to specify the amount given to the MCA, he denied knowing the exact amount but maintained that it is in hundreds of thousands.

Reached for comment, the area MCA denied the bribery allegations and instead said if there’s any corruption,  it should be at the procurement office and not him and went ahead to state that Chiteyi who is accusing him was among those employed to supervise the repairs on the said roads and should therefore be responsible for the shoddy works, a claim Chiteyi also denies.

Kenya Rural Roads Authority officer a Ms Jerusha who is in charge of tendering accuses Silwa Construction Company of doing a shoddy job on all its roads allocated to them and wondered why it is Silwa alone that is being awarded.
She revealed that all the construction companies that have so far been awarded have proved to be incompetent and may not be awarded any contract in the near future.

She said that some companies have neither done the road works and even others are yet to start working, blaming their delay on the ongoing heavy rains pounding the area while others take too long than the required period.

According to the local chairman of Kerra Moses Wasike, Sh15 million was allocated for the roads in Malava constituency in the last financial year 2013/14 while this year, a total of Sh13.9 million has been allocated.

Wasike agreed that the roadworks was a major setback to development within the constituency and blamed most contractors to failing to meet the required repair standards and instead turning most roads into a muddy path that was impassable.

Last week, residents of Kakamega North district in Malava constituency of Kakamega county took to the streets protesting over what they termed as bad state of the roads within the area.
The demonstrations led by the boda boda chairman Bernard Munanga and an activist Joshua Masitsa accused the leadership of the area led by MP, the MCA under the auspices of Albert Wetundu for failing to ensure that the contractors did a perfect job.

They alleged that contractors awarded tenders were not genuine and had bribed their way into being awarded the same and promised they will vote out all the leaders involved in the scandal.
Masitsa was categorical that both Malava MP and Mugai/Shirugu ward representative were demanding huge perks from would- be contractors before awarding them with the tenders.
They attributed the poor state of the poor works done to the huge perks paid to the leaders, hence softening there supervision on the contractors.

The MP and his Mugai/Shirugu MCA have distanced themselves from the corruption allegations and stated that the awarding of the tenders was in tandem with the procurement procedures and instead called on the contractors to carry their own cross if they were unable to deliver.

At the same time, sources within the Malava CDF office reveal that the MP single sourced the contractor and the tender committee might have only worked on an order from him. 
It is further alleged that the MP is trying to negotiate with a contractor whom he is said to have sold a plot to fund his campaigns in 2017 elections and now wants to repossess it as it is in a prime area within Malava town as he is alleged to have promised a contract in return.

It is the county government of Kakamega and Kenya Rural Roads Authority that are funding the gravelling of the sub-county roads. In Malava constituency, Kerra is expected to gravel 13 roads.
Chimuche ward MCA Steven Ambulwa expects Sh56 million for the gravelling which he anticipates the county government will allocate soon.

His South Kabras ward counterpart Bryson Sikolia says he needs Sh30 million more from the Sh5 million to complete the projects.
So far, he has done murraming Chevoso to Musali junction road and West Kenya to Catholic Lubao road at Sh2.2 million and Sh2.3 million.

Sikolia maintains that whether leaders demand bribes from contractors or not, what is needed is efficient service delivery of the tender awarded and warns that in his ward, he has no room for unqualified contractors.

As much as Malava constituency is concerned, we established has received over Sh50 million for roads improvement.  It is only South Kabras, Butali Chegulo and Chimuche wards that the public audits approve of having done a good work.