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Probe NSSF for 'robbery' in Hazina Towers, says PIC team.

A parliamentary committee wants the NSSF investigated for 'daylight robbery' after it emerged taxpayers will pay a Chinese company an additional Sh6.8 billion to construct Hazina Towers in Nairobi. The project initially cost Sh6.7 billion.

Chairman of the Public Investment Committee Abdullswamad Nassir yesterday said he will request an immediate probe by the EACC and DCI. He led his team to Hazina Towers and said the increased cost 'amounted to daylight robbery'.

The panel, which met officials from the ministry of Public Works, NSSF and the office of the Auditor General, was even more shocked after learning Chinese contractor Jiangxi International has been claiming Sh20 million per week from NSSF due to the stalled project.

Out of the Sh6.7 billion total contract cost, Jiangxi International has so far been paid Sh2.6 billion, including Sh671 million as a secured advance, while consultants have been paid Sh627 million.

Appalled MPs told NSSF management led by acting CEO Anthony Omerikwa that the public cannot continue paying billions of shillings to a contractor for work not done. Nassir said they will not continue meeting NSSF while the public is losing money.

'There is no need to continue going round over a matter that is not coming to a conclusion. We are not ready for these kinds of shenanigans,' he said as he called off the meeting.

He went on, 'We do not need to waste time on this.The DPP and a team from EACC should immediately and urgently start probing this matter.'

Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa and his Kinangop counterpart Thuku Kwenya said NSSF could have conspired with the contractor. 'This is pure robbery. I see a conspiracy between NSSF and the contractor to swindle billions of taxpayers' money,' Wamalwa said.

Omerikwa told the committee that despite the number of floors being reduced from 36 to 15, the total contract of Sh6.7 billion was not likely to come down.

'Should the fund terminate the contract, the new tender would be based on current pricing and would be higher,' he said. 'The current contract is running and cannot be terminated without triggering litigation and incurring penalties as the delay wasn't due to the contractor,' Omerikwa told the committee. He said procurement litigation is a major risk.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Mar 22, 2018
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