Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: Kambi Wants Probe Into Atwoli 'Interest' in Tassia Project

Nairobi — Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi has called for a probe on the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) procurement department team within the next seven days saying he will not tolerate corruption.

This follows claims by Central Organisation of Trade Union Secretary (COTU) General Francis Atwoli that the fund would lose billions of shillings through a shoddy procurement process that for development works at Tassia II settlement scheme.

He said that the probe on the procurement team would look into all the suspected scams that might have hit the Fund including those in past regimes.

Kambi refuted Atwoli's claims and challenged him to come out clean and declare his interests in the matter.

"I don't think it was right for only one board trustee to commit the whole board without considering the magnitude. In other words it's like my friend the Secretary General of COTU is destroying the NSSF with such statements," complained Kambi.

He further observed that five of the NSSF board trustees approved the infrastructure development works, which Atwoli was aware of, but that he chose to remain silent on the matter.

Among those who approved were the Finance Secretary Mutua Kilaka, Labour Principal Secretary Ali Noor Ismail, NSSF Acting Managing Trustee Richard Langat, NSSF Trustee Chairman Adan Daud and Federation of Kenya Employers Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline Mugo.

"I now want my good friend (Atwoli) to tell us what his interests were for him to issue these statements while he had been given the opportunity to say why this project should not go on," said Kambi.

"The sixth board member, Francis Atwoli, neither approved it nor did he object it."

The board is supposed to have nine members but three of them were removed by the Labour Cabinet Secretary in 2013 and will be replaced.

Kambi also observed that an open tendering bid was done before China Jiangxi International Limited won the tender at Sh4.629 billion and not Sh5.053 billion as claimed.

"And I have said that if my officers are corrupt, I am going to deal with them and if other interested parties are also corrupt I will not spare them," he said.

The NSSF bought 1,760 acres of land in Tassia for Sh2.2 billion between 1994 and 1995 from the Tassia Coffee Estate limited and the Noki Investment Limited with hopes of developing the area into a residential place.

But by the year 2001 the land had been encroached forcing the Fund to move to Court to have them evicted. The Court gave the Fund the green light to evict them but the Board of Trustees at the time chose not to because of the numerous sub divisions that had been done.

A plan was then devised to have the squatters buy the land from NSSF.

Unfortunately the City Council of Nairobi ordered the NSSF to link the settlement to all the existing neighbourhoods in the area, develop a transport corridor, ensure that it is fully serviced, develop access roads and drainage systems and other items.

The NSSF was then forced to get bidders who would carry out the works with the required technical and technological knowhow.

Ten bidders responded among them Nzuca Consolidated Company Limited which had the highest quotation asking for Sh8.151 billion while Jiangxi had the lowest.

According to Kambi, as at December 31, 2013 the total expected sale proceeds from the scheme was Sh2.5 billion and so far Sh1.8 billion has been received.

"The outstanding Sh0.7 billion is expected to be realised by June 2014," he noted.

It is however difficult for the Fund to quantify how much it will get once all the squatters pay their dues because survey works on the parcel have not yet been conducted.

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