22 April 2014

Kenya: Ombudsman's Report On Tassia II Biased - Kambi

Nairobi — Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi has said the controversial tender awarded to China Jiangxi International for infrastructure development in Tassia II will not be cancelled purely on the Ombudsman's recommendation.

He said the report released by the Ombudsman on the tender last week was one-sided and it was therefore necessary to wait for other investigative authorities to release their findings before coming to a decision.

"The recommendations are one-sided. They have not managed also to get what it is from us other than from one person who is a board member because I don't look at Atwoli as COTU, I look at him as an NSSF board member."

"The matter is before the (Ethics and) Anti-Corruption Commission... it's before the National Assembly's Labour and Public Investments Committees and they'll come up with recommendations," he said.

In the past, Kambi has gone on record saying that the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) contributors risk losing Sh5 billion should the tender be cancelled.

"I have determined that there is a valid contract before us which now makes this more difficult. In case the contract is cancelled NSSF will have to pay the full contract which is Sh5.03billion," he said.

On Tuesday, he added that the fund managers also had to take into account the Nairobi county government's insistence that the infrastructure development be concluded before title deeds to the project are issued.

"The biggest scandal would have been NSSF sold plots without title deeds. Because NSSF did collect some money from tenants without title deeds and we cannot give them the title deeds if the road is not done and these were pre-conditions given to NSSF by the then City Council, now the county government," he said.

Ironically, he assured members of the public that corruption at the fund had been eradicated with the appointment of Richard Langat as Managing Trustee, the very same Langat whose prosecution, the Ombudsman, Otiende Amollo, recommended.

"The manner in which the Managing Trustee sought and obtained approval via email for the project without ensuring that that the NSSF had met the pre-approval conditions by the Nairobi City County and the availability of sufficient funds for the project is suspect and amounts to abuse of power," the Ombudsman explained.

Kambi however said that any investments undertaken on behalf of NSSF contributors in future will be managed by professionals such as Old Mutual.

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