At the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, a tripartite of CEOs cobbled together by the CS James Macharia run the show. During that period country has engaged in some of the most expensive projects.
For six years, since a reshuffle in the first Uhuru Kenyatta Cabinet, Macharia has controlled the ministry that has overseen trillions of shillings in construction and procurement.
The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), various bypasses, trunk roads, and the imaginary 10,000km of road network easily translate to more than the country’s annual budget at any time.
The gloss on the ministry story aside, thousands of cases have been filed in various courts across the country.
The CS, one of the blue-eyed boys of the Uhuru Kenyatta Administrations, has ensured that most of his friends get the appropriate tenders and jobs, all geared towards Vision 2030, a matter that has captured the imagination of a Developed Kenya at its shortest time.
Tribalism Appointment by CS Macharia
CS Macharia has been under fire from Kenyans on social media over his appointments. Macharia was heavily criticized for appointing three members of the same community to the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority Board.
The three, Mary Waithiegeni Chege, Zacharia Karenge Mungai, and Ronald Ndirangu Ndegwa were appointed by CS Macharia through a gazette notice dated February 5th, 2021 to serve for a period of three years.
But the appointee’s ethnicity triggered protests from a section of Kenyans online, who accused CS Macharia of being a tribalist.
Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma threatened to table a motion of impeachment against CS Macharia if he is not fired.
“This is stinking tribalism in a country where inclusivity is a constitutional ideal. A Minister who makes such appointments should be nowhere around public service,” said Kaluma.
Nairobi-based lawyer Donald Kipkorir said:
“Have to end my over two years restraining from commenting negatively about CS Macharia. As the Minister of sprawling Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development & Public Works, every time he makes an appointment, it has to be a Kikuyu. HE IS THE WORST TRIBALIST.”
KeNHA Boss Michael Mundinia
The Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority Board was created by President Kenyatta to modernize public transport within the Nairobi metropolis.
Michael Mundinia the outgoing Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) has had a good run, but it has been used as a conduit to siphon cash from various contractors across the country going by the cases that come to the public domain.
EACC Chairman Eliud Wabukala mentioned that they are seeking to freeze bank accounts and seize assets of those found to have irregularly benefited from the tenders.
“Already, the investigations are past the preliminary stages and we are now looking forward to establish where misappropriated funds might have been used or invested,” Wabukala mentioned.
One firm is claimed to have received Ksh94.7 million for the maintenance of the Nairobi Southern bypass despite its certificate not having been registered at the time of tender opening.
Another company was awarded Sh47.6 million for the repair of the Elhadi-Forolle road notwithstanding the fact that its certificate was invalid during registration. At Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura), Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) all under Macharia have been rocked by one major scandal or another.
In basic terms, there are always running court cases involving one of the well-funded Ministry of Infrastructure departments.
Director-General Silas Kinoti (KURA) The ‘Puppet’
Silas Kinoti at Kura was made him a puppet of the various conflicting interests out to fleece Kenyans through dubious tenders. One of those cartels and vested interests is Eden Homes Limited which is able to delay KURA projects without any consequence.
The firm has delayed projects and on top of that, it has been allowed to continue working without a contract extension.
A source at the institution says that the extension that Kenya Urban Roads authority – KURA gave to the firm is devoid of any contract, yet the works are continuing Eden Homes Ltd took a bank guarantee from Sidian Bank but failed to do the works in time citing ‘adverse weather’, and ‘delays in the relocation of electric poles and wires by Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC)’.
Their request for an extension by a whopping 156 days was granted. What a joke?
KURA has a knack for giving contracts to incompetent contractors. They end up delaying completing projects.
There’s a cost to all these missed deadlines, but when one is working for KURA as a contractor, one can expect that to go away. KURA’s Director-General Engineer Silas One just needs to grease the palms of the acting Director-General Kinoti.
Kenya Railways, Philip Mainga, The Overnight Billionaire
At the Kenya Railways Corporation, Philip Mainga’s term that started last year and is due for another one if the appointing authority feels that he deserves one, but things have turned awry for him in the recent past.
But, it does not look so thus far. He is bedeviled by myriad personal integrity problems that fall far below Chapter 6 of the Integrity Act. With Macharia out of the way, Mainga’s return will be hard as things and more so, if a new regime takes over after next year’s General Election.
Overnight, Philip Mainga became not rich but wealthy and influential, and just like that, he is suddenly at the heart of the corruption mess that is the Kenya Railways, courtesy of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and the spoils that came with its construction in the country.
Within no time, Mainga, a beneficiary of a corruption scandal that saw his predecessor Atanas Maina quit after being charged alongside Muhammad Swazuri, the National Lands Commission (NLC) chairman has learned the ropes of the trade called corruption so fast that he can claim a leadership position.
The SGR project in itself, fought off unsuccessfully by Kenya’s Opposition leaders at its inception, gobbled billions as the country’s most expensive since independence in 1963, run and managed by foreigners, fake claims and forgeries over the time, Mainga seems to have learned the dark arts of the thieving managers and dug his talons even deeper.
Starting off with a mess involving leases for land belonging to the corporation, it has now been elevated with several files at the Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) Mainga’s juggling skills will be required by the time all investigations are done away with.
On the investigation targeting Mainga and his cohorts at the Railways Corporation, there is an integrated security system contract said to be worth Sh1.8 billion that seems dodgy in its true meaning.
A filing by Magal Security Systems on the award of a contract on the Design, Supply, Installation Testing and Commission of a Unified Security (USMS) later thrown away by the Public Procurement Board, gives a glimpse at the dirty work that Mainga is presiding over.
For Mainga, he believes that the help of a journalist with connections at the DCI will solve the problems that he has. He has bragged to his opponents that his matters are being protected and watched over at the country’s investigations body.
But, for how long? A look at the CR12 of the company that won the contract shows a totally different picture and the source from the DCI who supplied these documents says that all pointers are direct to an internal influence from the corporation with officers in the loop for the scheme.
Kenya Railways insiders claim that in order to execute the well-planned move, which has included arbitrary procurement, leasing, and other schemes that meet the final goal of enrichment, Mainga says an internal source that the head of Human Resource, Infrastructure, Legal, and Finance have in one way or another been forced to leave the giant corporation in funny ways, with fingers pointing at the MD for the forced or mafia-like schemes to show them the door.
In the most spectacular of all, Jillian Soi, an officer with no past experience on the job, including the basic requirement of having a practicing certification from the procumbent practitioner’s body, frog-jumped Elisha Owiti and John Kanyoti in a scheme that even shocked the beneficiary, who was being primed for a bigger role in the MD’s plans to get rich quick.
Then, overnight. Mainga has become a goring bull within the corporation. His idea of rolling stock has been extended to human resource assets.
Extramarital affairs are talked about in various institutions but several bring our rot and perfidy of the bosses. The name of lass Rachel Kimanzi pops up when senior officers talk about inter-office affairs.
The lady Kimanzi has the heart and ear for the MD and is said to control finances, including purchasing a safe, probably for their own resources or the kickbacks that come with the job. Also in the mix, is a famous journalist managing the media affairs of the MD who feels well protected.
Our own sources within the corporation indicate that an HR Audit passed a recommendation that she be reprimanded for the same, though nothing has come out of it. The file is gathering dust within the corporate offices.
The Kenya Leadership and Integrity Network, in a letter reference number 03/07/KLI/2021 addressed to the CEO Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Twalib Abdallah Mbarak said the MD irregularly promoted a female employee at Kenya Railway to a higher position alleging that her academic papers were obtained fraudulently.
The letter was signed by Gordon Omondi, Campaign Coordinator Kenya Leadership and Integrity Network calls for the reprimand of the amorous MD.
The letter alleges that Mainga promoted Kimanzi to the position of Assistant Real Estate, Valuation, and Agency Manager (Group RD4) even though she presented a fraudulent Nairobi University Master’s degree.
“I am writing this letter to bring to your attention the above-mentioned subject for your office to truthfully consciously carry out its fiduciary duty, carry out investigations and recommend for possible prosecution or other administrative action as you may deem appropriate against Mr. Philip Mainga, The Managing Director of Kenya Railway Cooperation,” says Omondi.
The letter to the EACC accuses Mainga of working against the legal framework in Kenya, which includes; The Constitution of Kenya 2010, the Ethics and Integrity Act 2012, and the Sexual Offences Act 2016.
The letter further alleges Mainga has been using his position of authority as MD at Kenya Railway Corporation to make it a hostile working environment by engaging in sexually transmitted promotions besides turning his office into a love nest.
This writer reached out to Mainga for comment but by the time of publishing the story, he had not responded to the questions.