10 January 2014

Kenya: FKE Disowns Controversial Sh5 Billion Tassia Project

Nairobi — The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) has now distanced itself from the Tassia II infrastructure development project saying Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi and the Acting Managing Trustee Richard Langat are misleading the public.

FKE Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline Mugo said in a paid up advertisement that she sent an e-mail approving the project on December 19 last year, before sending another one on January 1, 2014 seeking certain clarifications before the project kicks off.

She added that she did not get any response to the January e-mail and that Kambi and Langat have been telling half-truths about the whole issue.

Mugo maintained that the two were telling the public that she approved the project through e-mail without stating that she raised certain concerns in a subsequent one.

"Amongst the key questions was the need to ensure financing of the project by the tenants as indicated in the Acting Managing Trustee's e-mail. This e-mail was followed up by a formal letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Labour and the Acting Managing Trustee," she said.

She at the same time expressed concern over the manner in which the multi billion project was approved saying it should not have been done via e-mail.

Langat sent e-mails to all the Board trustees on December 18, last year with details of the project seeking an approval. Each of the trustees including Mugo okayed it at the time.

The only reservation that she held at the time was that the project should not go overboard in terms of price.

"I support the proposal given the assurance that it will not pose additional cost to the Fund," she responded in the e-mail dated December 19, 2013.

Mugo is now demanding a formal meeting to deliberate on the project before the works are undertaken because it will be ill advised to rush it.

"It is also worrying to witness the hurried manner in which a project purportedly approved on December 18, 2013 has already been awarded to a contractor," she argues in the press advert.

She becomes the second Board Trustee member to disown the project after Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary General Francis Atwoli.

This leaves four trustees who are okay with the project - Finance Secretary Mutua Kilaka, Labour Principal Secretary Ali Noor Ismail, NSSF Trustee Chairman Adan Daud and Langat.

"The idea of spending a colossal sum of Sh5 billion on a project based on a purported e-mail approval is indeed ill advised," Mugo insists.

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