Opposition leader Raila Odinga alleged that the government irregularly leased out the running of Mombasa port’s second container terminal.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader alleged that a tender to run the terminal was awarded to a United Arab Emirates operator instead of a deserving Japanese bidder.
Raila challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta to explain if he had any personal interest in the matter or if the UAE operator bribed to win the tender.
He questioned the awarding of the tender to UAE’s Dubai Ports World to run the Sh27 billion second container terminal despite the fact that it was defeated by 12 other ports in the tendering process.
The former premier said in Mombasa that the Japanese authorities who funded the construction of the terminal felt betrayed by alleged meddling in the tender which, Raila said, could affect future Japanese aid to Kenya.
But in a rejoinder Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Chairman Marsden Madoka termed Raila’s claims as fabrications, saying the terminal has not been awarded to any concessionaire.
Mr Madoka admitted that a tender to run the terminal had been awarded but was later cancelled.
“It is not true. KPA has not awarded the tender to Dubai World to operate the second container terminal. The KPA management is running the terminal effectively,” said Madoka.
But Madoka did not say who won the tender or why it was cancelled.
“I know there are too many competing interests from many companies that eye this lucrative business. KPA has the capacity to run the facility efficiently,” said the KPA chairman.
Raila linked the awarding of the tender to Dubai World to a Sh28 billion loan secured by the government from UAE, which he claimed was meant to oil the deal.
“A whiff of corruption hangs all over this so-called loan as it leaves more questions than answers…it will appear the UAE did not win but purchased the management of our second container terminal at the cost of Sh28 billion,” said Raila yesterday.
The former PM, who was flanked by governors Amason Kingi of Kilifi, Hassan Ali Joho of Mombasa, and John Mruttu of Taita Taveta, claimed that in the tendering process, a Chinese consortium, PSA International, which had partnered with a local group, Multiple Haulers, to bid emerged top.
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On August 26, 2016, the government signed a bilateral cooperation agreement with UAE which saw Kenya secure a concessional loan of Sh28 billion.
Raila said the government should explain to Kenyans how the loan was spent and re-paid.