By Shosi Lwambi, April 10, 2023
A blow by blow series of how rogue and proxy companies are walking away with billions of taxpayer’s money at the Coast Water Works Development Agency can now be revealed.
Details that have surfaced for public consumption have unmasked how senior officers at the agency are colluding with cartels to bag billions of both donor funded and government sponsored projects.
The looting spree as has been the case starts by way of pitching by the procurement department after receiving the bidding documents from consultants for the placement of bids in the daily newspapers to invite potential and qualified companies to express interest on intended supplies.
In real pictures, things get down to serious business when the head of procurement Stanlus Jira in conjuction with Finance Manager Stephen Masai meet and pitch camp in Nairobi to seal deals with Contractors who can play along without much struggle.
Some of the contractors run proxy companies on behalf of powerful politicians in the country.
The meeting in Nairobi only happens after Masai receives a notification of money sent to Coast water from the Coordinator of the project who sits at Treasury.
Masai then invites Mr. Jira for a meeting in Nairobi with the potential Consultancy Company poised to be awarded the bid to prepare and design the tender documents for the project.
The most notorious company is a company led by Asians in joint venture with Europe based consulting firms.
After the consultancy firm is awarded the tender, they will be obligated to give findings and confidential information with the anticipated winning bidder for the implementation part of the project.
Mr.Jira will always be ahead of the game to ensure that tender documentation is done and prepared above board and sometimes in-house Engineers are involved to revise and go through the documents in-order to ensure that the winning bidder gets the projected marks.
During Evaluation, Mr Masai will ensure that he is part of the Evaluation team by asking Mr.Jira to add his name on the list of evaluations team Memo. His main Agenda is to protect the interests of the anticipated winning bidder.
The bidder is usually asked to quote between 15-20% below the official Engineer estimates from the consulting firm and later the logarithm shall be created during evaluation at the stage of checking of errors.
At the material day of opening the tender, the predetermined winning bidder will be asked to part with some money between Ksh.5-10million depending on the amount quoted as bidding price.
This commitment fees is strictly to lure and buy out the members of the evaluation team who were not involved in the deal from the beginning.
Shockingly, after the winning bidder gets the contract forms and handed the site,the greed to loot more continues. This is achieved by asking the contractor to cause an artificial delay at site so that the consultant can agree to give an increase of 15-20% as variations fees or mark-up.
We have the list of companies that have benefited including others whom were given restricted tendering worth over Sh800Million for the repair of wells/commercial boreholes at Baricho in Malindi-Sub-county.
This comes at a time when the government is seeking to partner with the private sector to implement multi-billion water projects to boost the supply of water in the Coast region.
The agency estimates it will cost Sh300 billion to address water shortage in the six counties in the region.
Among the projects the State plans to construct include the Sh25 billion Mwache multipurpose dam project in Kwale County.
In 2018, the tender for the project was awarded to Sino-Hydro Corporation and Engineering amidst uproar from some bidders that the process was not transparent.
For the agency to succeed, new Board chairman Daniel Mwaringa will have to devise new means of kicking out the cartel.
Unless only if Mr Mwaringa wants to join the cartel is when he will be able to work with them but if he feels otherwise, then his first battle could be with the procurement head Mr Jira who has been accused of even going to the extent of favoring women at the expense of merit in tender award.
Some media reports have linked Mr Jira to love-work exploits with notorious hot air supplier Esther P. Thongori alias Hadassah and Masai.
Also in the love-mix is Radio Africa Media sales executive personnel Egunza Jene who is allegedly ‘working closely with Mr Masai the head of finance. They have several companies that do hot air at the agency.