The Nandi County government and the umbrella body representing contractors have unearthed a multi-million- shilling road construction syndicate hatched to swindle
money from the county coffers.
Making the revelation, County Secretary Francis Ominde said rogue contractors had conspired with county officials to create fake tender documents awarding themselves road construction works totalling
close to Sh900 million. “The county finance office has been receiving an unusual number of road project completion certificates with demands for payment to
different road construction companies totalling to 200. This raised eye-brows with the county,” Mr Ominde said.
On close scrutiny, he said, the county finance and procurement departments found hundreds of fake documents where fake signatures of county officials had been used for certification. Julius Keter, who is
the chairman of the body representing contractors, further revealed that of the 200 contractors demanding payment, only 60 companies possessed valid and genuine tender award documents. In a day-long meeting with contractors at the Kapsabet
Town Hall, Mr Keter said: “We are aware of the existence of rogue contractors who have used forged documents to award themselves tenders.
Early this month, County Executive Cleophas Lagat had directed the county finance office to withhold all payments for road contractors as the county roads department vetted projects. Meshack Tankoi, county procurement officer, distanced his office from blame, saying fake tender documents and certification signatures had been used.
Finance Executive Charles Muge, who is also the acting roads and infrastructure executive, said the county would withhold any payments until all road projects had been vetted, audited and certified. “The county has been saved from a huge loss. We will not be making any payments to contractors until fresh audit of all road projects had been completed,” he said. Keter is now demanding that the 60 genuine contractors receive their payments from the county government without any further delay.
In an unprecedented move, the 140 contractors with questionable documentation have rejected any move by the county officials to vet and audit their tender documents and actual road projects. Civil society groups revealed that the contractors illegally re- classified national government roads into county roads by shifting Kenya Rural Roads Authority signboards at night.