Governor Hassan Joho now claims the national government has secretly leased out Mombasa port to a Dubai-based concessionaire.
Mr Joho claimed he had evidence to prove the concession had already been signed by the National Treasury and a Dubai company allowed to take over the national resource.
He did not name the company.
Speaking in Voi on Wednesday evening after meeting Orange Democratic Movement ODM political aspirants, Joho promised to publish documents to support his claims.
He expressed fears that thousands of people would lose their jobs following the privatisation of the Port that serves East and Central Africa regions.
“The Government wants to close the port and take it to upcountry. The port of Mombasa will now be handling containers which will be transported to the proposed Naivasha dry port,” he said.
Addressing ODM aspirants before embarking on a one-day tour of the county yesterday, Joho said during the Grand Coalition Government, retired President Mwai Kibaki and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga had agreed to establish a dry port in Voi town.
He said the plan was changed under the Jubilee government, and the dry port project moved to Naivasha.
“We all supported the project to be established in Voi town, which would have thrived due to increase in the volume of business because the town is strategically situated along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway; about 150 km from the Port of Mombasa,” said Joho.
In an interview with The Standard at the Voi Wildife Lodge on Wednesday evening, Joho promised to produce a copy of the port’s concession agreement ‘in due course’.
The governor, who claimed his life was in danger, said he would not be intimidated by the government.
But Kenya Ports Authority Chairman Marsden Madoka denied Joho’s claims, dismissing them as false and unfounded.
Why Kenya may lose out on shipping billions
The former Cabinet minister however conceded that there had been attempts to privatise the port, but insisted these had since been thwarted.
According to Madoka, a proposal to lease out the port to a concessionaire was explored but had since been abandoned.
“The port has not been privatised as claimed by Joho. During the launching of the second container terminal last year, many parties expressed interest, but this was cancelled,” said Madoka.
Madoka said the port would never be privatised under his watch.
“There is nothing like that. There have been attempts and many people had shown interest,” he said.
The port, he said, was too important to be leased out to foreigners.
“If we give the port to other people we would be rendered irrelevant. As far as I am there nothing will happen,” said Madoka.