Ministry of ICT in a stain on foreign loans of 12 billion shillings

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu addresses members of the Kisumu County Assembly on March 2, 2021.[Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) is on hand for over 12 billion shillings in loans from the Italian and Chinese governments to develop key infrastructure projects.

Auditor General Ms Nancy Gathungu (pictured) said the ministry failed to provide proper documentation for the loans which were then disbursed to Chinese tech company Huawei and Italian infrastructure company Impresa Costruzioni Maltauro ( ICM).

“Payments made included loans totaling 2.6 billion shillings for the Konza Technopolis data center, 608 million Chinese shillings for the National Optic Fiber Backbone project and a total of 9.2 billion shillings for Konza Technocity,” Ms. Gathungu said in the audit report for the year ending June 2021. “However, the payments were supported by photocopies of documents instead of the original documents, which according to management were forwarded to the lender.”

“Therefore, it was not possible to confirm the correctness of the payments totaling 12.5 billion shillings,” she said.

In 2017, ICM received the tender as general contractor to oversee the construction of key infrastructure in Konza, the scope of works of which includes roads, water and sewers for the first phase of the project. .

The first phase, which also includes a recycling facility, a bulk water treatment plant, fiber optic links and a power plant, was expected to attract 30,000 residents, 7,500 knowledge workers and 16,700 other workers a once completed.

In June last year, however, civil works in Konza stood at 56%, while horizontal infrastructure construction stood at 60%.

This is the second time in as many years that the Auditor General has reported payments made to contractors associated with the Konza Technopolis project.

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