Project delay to hurt NSSF returns

The National Social Security Fund may not realise value for money from the construction of Hazina towers, a parliamentary committee has said in a report.

The committee noted that completion of the Hazina Trade Centre Office Towers had delayed, hence likely to attract claims from the contractor.

The Public Investments Committee (PIC), in its special report on the completion of the building in the city centre, noted that the Sh6.7 billion project was shrouded in opaqueness and as such, the process lacked fairness, equity, transparency and competitiveness.

“Further, should the fund abandon strengthening of the columns as per State Department of Public Works’ advice, the fund will have made a loss of Sh244,728,603, which is 3.6 per cent of the tender figure of Sh6,715,218,488,” the report reads.

FINANCIAL HICCUPS
The building, originally designed in 1994 to have 24 storeys, was restructured in 1998 to only eight floors, four basements, two mezzanines, ground and first floor due to cash flow constraints then facing the NSSF.

The project was undertaken by Mavji Construction Company Ltd under Salmann Mruttu and Associates as the project architects.

Upon completion in 2003, the building was leased to Nakumatt Holdings Ltd for 20 years.

FIRM REAPPOINTED
When NSSF’s liquidity improved in 2009, the board, upon the recommendation of consultants and management, decided to revive the project in order to enhance its return on investment.

It was the board’s decision to re-appoint the consultants in 2010, having been prequalified by the fund in 1998.

Management only implemented the decision after consulting the Public Procurement Oversight Authority on the matter.

PROCUREMENT
However former NSSF boss Alex Kazongo did not present any evidence to support this position when he appeared before the committee.

The committee chaired by Eldas MP Adan Keynan in its key observations noted that the re-appointment of the consultants was tantamount to direct procurement, which was contrary to the law and wants the anti-graft agency to investigate and prosecute Mr Kazongo over the award of the Sh6.7 billion contract.

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