14 July 2014

Kenya: EPZ Boss Kicked Out of Sitting

A parliamentary committee kicked out the Export Processing Zone Coast regional manager from a special sitting on Friday.

The manager, Meshack Kimeu, had appeared before the Public Investments Committee to give evidence on a disputed piece of land between EPZ and Kenya Ports Authority.

The committee wanted to establish how the 1.86-acre land, located outside KPA gate 18, was transferred to EPZ.

KPA had started building a canteen on the land in 2007 but the EPZ management stopped them, saying it was allocated to them by the authority in exchange for another land in Jomvu.

Kimeu was kicked out after the committee chair, Wajir West MP Adan Keynan, said his evidence could not be substantiated and he could not prove he was there on behalf of EPZ.

"Is there an official written document to show that the EPZ management is aware of your presence before this committee?" said Keynan.

Kimeu said: "I got the invitation yesterday afternoon and informed my management, but I do not have any written communication to appear before this committee."

Kimeu took an oath before the committee continued questioning him on what capacity he appeared before them and who invited him.

When he appeared reluctant to answers the MPs Keynan said: "This committee is declaring Kimeu a stranger and whatever he has said before this sitting should be expunged from our records. You should now leave."

The committee resolved to summon the official EPZ top management at a later date.

Meanwhile, the KPA management was also put to task to explain how Sh5 million had been spent on the stalled construction of the canteen on the disputed piece of land.

KPA management, led by operations manager Captain Khamis Twalib, gave the committee documents showing the first phase of the construction cost Sh5,884,681.

Twalib said the right construction procedure had been followed and the total cost of construction was not in doubt.

However, after touring the site of the stalled project, the MPs faulted the amount spent on the structure, saying it was exaggerated.

Sh5 million cannot have been spent on this structure. The highest this could have gone could be Sh1 million, the MPs said.

The committee chair said they want an expert analysis of the construction to establish the exact amount of money that could have spent on the project.

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