CAPTION: Behind the 20 Billion Dam Heist is none other than this alumni from the St. Mary’s School of Corruption, Njee Muturi.
Another alumni from the St. Mary’s School of corruption Njee Muturi is on the spot. Being the godfather and person behind the appointment of Eugene Wamalwa as Water Minister, it goes without saying that this next project is their cash-cow.
They now want an unqualified contractor, one with no capacity and one who won’t complete the project, to make this massive undertaking, in a near-replica scenario as Safaricom’s procurement strategies of using red-herrings, while the final outcome is predetermined.
PUBLIC INTEREST ALERT
Subject Matter: Intent to embezzle public funds and Procurement misconduct
Public Entity: National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation
Project: CONSTRUCTION OF SOIN-KORU MULTIPURPOSE DAM DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
Contract No: NWCPC/RFP/016/2016-17 NWCPC/RFP/015/2016-17
Contract Award: Pending
Project Value: Approximately 20 Billion (calculated from bid bond requirement)
Contract No: NWCPC/RFP/016/2016-17
Consultant: RUNJI AND PARTNERS LTD
Number of Bidders: 3
Name of Bidders:
1. Sinohydro Corporation Ltd ( China) _Failed to meet technical requirements
2. Sinotech Co Ltd ( China)_Failed to meet technical requirements
3. FRABO Construction Ltd (Kenya)
Technical Evaluation Result:
The technical evaluation committee reported a single successful bidder ‘’FRABO Construction Ltd, NBO’’
Justification for Disqualification
Failure to include all mandatory documentation in technical bid
1. How do two international contractors with a long history in the Kenyan market fail to submit basic documentation?
2. It is peculiar that two out of three contractors that qualify for the construction of projects of this magnitude are disqualified on the exact same basis.
3. It is of great concern that after multiple reviews of the RFP documentation there was no clear instruction to bidders to include the documentation stated as mandatory documentation by the evaluation team within the Technical bid. The entity did not forward the two Chinese firms a clarification letter as is standard practice to confirm if the documents were included in the Financial bid.
a. Is it a coincidence that Frabo was the only contractor not to violate these unstated mandatory requirements?
To the trained eye it is clear that Frabo is reading from a different script. This said the basis for disqualification is unjust, the first priority of any procuring entity is to ensure:
1. Cost effective services
2. Capacity of successful bidder – Usually this is based on case studies/ history (Frabo has only constructed Chemususu Dam in the history of the company’s operational history. The project was marred with a series of issues relating to; price inflation, quality of works, Service delivery time frame variations, local component and corruption allegations)
3. Service delivery within the contract period
The points used to disqualify the Chinese firms do not directly impact their ability to meet the key mandate of the procuring entity. If the entity could not find a solution to the 3 points used to invalidate the international bids, the procurement process should have been halted and the tender reissued. A simple risk assessment would have indicated that continuing with the current procurement process based on Frabo’s track record would cost the tax payer more in the long term than simply re-tendering the project and ensuring that several qualified contracts progress to the financial evaluation stage. After all the tendering system was put in place to ensure competitive bidding to drive down the cost of infrastructure development?
Frabo Construction Ltd
Water sector History:
1. Badasa Dam: Nullified by PPOA
The project was awarded to Frabo & company at a sum of Ksh 1,476,833,109.76. The award was later appealed by Midroc Water Drilling Company
Review Number: 36/2008 of November, 2008
2. Chemususu Dam:
This is a story well told but somewhat forgotten. The award of Chemususu Dam resulted in the fall of National water conservation and pipeline corporation…..This is quite literal as their offices located on Mombasa were destroyed in a fire. The fire though reported as an accident destroyed all evidence of embezzlement and intent to defraud GOK. This chain of events saw headlines such as:
1. Daily Nation: Sh6 billion looted in bogus water contracts – Monday March 21 2011 (It is intriguing that even though Frabo has been linked to several corruption cases in National Water, however, they continue to have the confidence to impede and manipulate public procurement without consequence).
I strongly urge the media to reopen the conversation of the past and shine light upon the never-ending cycle of misconduct that surrounds large Kenyan contractors. You continuously produce headline based on corruption but you seem to ignore the conduits of corruption. The vehicles of embezzlement and the outright incompetence of the KRA, CBK and other financial entities that are supposed to be drawing light to embezzlement and public procurement fraud. These entities should be the first to question how a Kenyan company meets the financial requirements of large scale international tenders? The conversation needs to shift form politicians who are relics and will become irrelevant with the passage of time and shift to the following simple question of HOW?
1. How does a Kenyan company score higher technical marks than their international competitors or consortium’s with decades of experience and experts that number in their thousands?
2. How does a Kenyan company have enough experts under their employment to meet the criteria of new infrastructure development tenders when even the government seems to have a problem sourcing local experts?
3. How does a company jump from a project of x amount to another tenfold that of their previous contract? Does this make any economical, logical or legal sense?
Simply Ask How?
The Kenyan public must take action against local contractors that continue to manipulate procurement processes in order to secure themselves lucrative contracts. Dams have the potential to be lucrative business opportunities for construction companies, however, they are also very high risk projects. The risk derived from the possibility of Dam failure usually attributed to errors during construction. Now while failure comes in many forms and in most cases, provides sufficient time to evacuate the local population. In some cases, it can be spontaneous and the results devastating. Dam construction should not be treated with the same casual attitude Kenya has shown to road construction or more recently SGR.
Though a dam provides many economic and social benefits we must be aware that they are essentially a ticking time bomb in your backyard (Look up current news on Dam failure in California). The truth is no local contractor has the qualification, capacity, experience or expertise to execute the construction of a Large Dam. This can only be attained by strategic partnerships with foreign firms…..we cannot continue to ignore incompetence in the name of patriotism/ support for local businesses. If our contractors cannot adapt to international competition in legal and innovative ways, then perhaps the fall of those companies is exactly what we require to provide room for a new generation of innovative Kenyan owned companies.
I encourage the public to monitor procurement processes…..research the bidders and demand answers when you see a serious breach in logic, law, financial sense and perhaps the Kenya you love will stand the test of time. Strong public involvement in procurement processes is the solution to the lack or principle and morals that plague our country. The answer is not a change in leaders …. the citizen holds the power to change how things are done not through your vote but by holding your leaders accountable for how public funds are spent…..when will Kenya wake up…stop participating in the never ending dance that is politics and focus on matters that can be quantified/ reasoned/ questioned / punished…… for while you participate in politics on twitter whats’app and other social media forums your future is being stolen.