ICT ministry fails to account for Ksh.12 billion China loan

ICT ministry fails to account for Ksh.12 billion China loan

The Ministry of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) has failed to provide original documents to legitimise how it spent Ksh.12 billion loans it received from both Italy and China.

The cash was loaned to the ministry for the construction of key infrastructure projects in the country and mainly at Konza Technopolis.

According to the Auditor General, Nacy Gathugu, the ministry failed to submit necessary records for the loans that were paid to Chinese technology giants Huawei and Italian infrastructure firm Impresa Construzioni Maltauro ICM.

The loans paid included Ksh.2.6 billion in borrowings for Konza Technopolis data center, Ksh.608 million from China for the national optic fibre backbone project and Ksh.9.2 billion for Konza still.

“The payments made comprised of borrowings totaling Ksh.2.6 billion for data center at Konza Technopolis, an amount of Ksh608 million from China for National Optic Fibre Backbone project and a total of Ksh9.2 billion for Konza Technocity,” said Gathungu in the audit report for the financial year ended June 2021.

According to Gathungu, the submitted documents were not original copies raising eyebrows legitimacy of the payments.

“The payments were supported by photocopies of documents instead of original documents, which the management indicated were forwarded to the lender.”

ICM was awarded the contract as general contractor to manage the building of essential infrastructure at Konza in 2017, with the scope of work for phase one of the project encompassing roads, water, and sewage facilities.

Upon completion of the first phase, which includes a recycling facility, bulk water treatment plant, fiber optic links, and a power station, 30,000 inhabitants, 7,500 knowledge workers, and 16,700 other workers were expected to be attracted.

However, as of June of last year, civil works at Konza were at 56 percent, while horizontal infrastructure construction was at 60 percent.

The Auditor-General challenged auditees to think beyond financial statements when dealing with auditors, for the process to have an impact.

The Office of the Auditor-General is not only interested with sound financial statements but also confirms if the public funds have been utilised lawfully and in an effective manner.

“When we audit these projects we just don’t look at figures, we look at how they will impact the lives and livelihoods of the people. These are huge projects that have the potential to do just that.”

She spoke during a familiarization visit to Konza Technopolis, a key flagship project of Kenya’s vision 2030, which is the country’s development blue print.

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