Progress of Thwake dam in jeopardy as China Gezhouba appeals

A Chinese company that was denied the contract for the multibillion Thwake dam project has appealed the decision to award the tender to the second lowest bidder.

China Gezhouba Construction Group Corporation (CGCGC), which put in the lowest bid (Sh36.9 billion) for the Sh62.3 billion project, moved to the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) Thursday to challenge the decision by Irrigation Principal Secretary Patrick Nduati Mwangi to award the contract to the second lowest bidder – STECOL Corporation (Sino Hydro Tianjin Engineering Co Ltd) – which quoted Sh39.5 billion.

“You are hereby notified that on March 30, 2017, a request was filed with the PPARB…under section 168 of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act 2015, no contract shall be signed between the procuring entity and the tenderer awarded the contract unless the appeal has been finalised,” the board said in a notice to PS Mwangi and copied to Gezhouba.

The notice comes a day after the project financier, African Development Bank (AfDB), refused to approve the award to Sino Hydro.

Mr Mwangi had on Monday disregarded AfDB, the Attorney-General, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa’s advice to award the contract to the lowest evaluated bidder, CGCGC.

The AfDB rejected Mr Mwangi’s request to have the contract awarded to Sino Hydro.

“Based on the information provided, the bank regrets to inform you that no objection to award the tender to the second lowest bidder cannot be given since there is no justifiable reasons to reject the least evaluated bidder,” AfDB director-general for East Africa Gabriel Negatu said in the letter copied to Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Mr Wamalwa and Henry Rotich (Cabinet, secretary, National Treasury).


Mr Mwangi had sought the banks nod to award the contract to Sino Hydro, which if granted would have seen taxpayers lose more than Sh3 billion in the first phase of the project.

READ: Taxpayers to ‘lose Sh3bn’ in controversial dam

He later awarded the contract to Sino Hydro subject to lowering the bid price to Sh36.9 billion, approval of the Attorney General and availability of funds from Treasury.

The dismissal of the no objection request by the lender means that the bank does not support the award of the contract to Sino Hydro.

The water project, to be located on the border of Kitui and Makueni counties, is being financed jointly by the government and AfDB. The latter will foot out 35 per cent of the cost.

Mr Negatu said AfDB’s procurement rules and procedures prohibit modification of bids including negotiation of price for works.

Mr Wamalwa had on March 23 appeared before the National Assembly’s Agriculture committee chaired by Mandera North MP Mohammed Noor to provide the way forward given that the AfDB has refused to clear the award of the tender to STECOL Corporation, where he said that Mr Mwangi had cited pending clearance from the EACC and the parliamentary committee as the impediments to the award of the contract to CGCGC.

READ: Wamalwa washes hands off controversial dam

The MPs say the two must explain to Kenyans the next cause action following the new developments that put the project in limbo.

The multipurpose Thwake dam project is slated to create a vast reservoir and catchment area of 10,276 square kilometers once completed, making it one of its kind in East and Central Africa.

Mr Nicholas Muthui, chief executive officer of Tanathi Water Services Board, who oversaw the technical designing of the project, said Thwake dam dwarfs the seven folks in size and output.

The Seven Folks dam have been built on the lower part of Tana River.


The dam is a Vision 2030 flagship project and is expected to supply piped water to residents, power the Konza techno city and adjacent towns as well as generate 23 megawatts of hydro power.

“The project is planned for implementation in four main phases including construction of a 77 meter high dam, hydro power generation component, 34600 cubic meters of water supply and a final phase of irrigating 40000 hectares in the two counties,” he told the Nation in a recent interview.

Mr Muthui said the government has set aside Sh2.4 billion for compensating hundreds of families living around the confluence of Thwake and Athi rivers to pave way for its construction.

The National Land Commission is currently compensating 519 households at the rate of Sh180,000 for every acre of land taken.

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