China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) is on the spotlight after news emerged that it had been awarded the lucrative Ksh40 billion Kipevu Oil Terminal tender despite being blacklisted by the World Bank.
The unorthodox awarding of the contract started back on March 23, 2016, when the Kenya Pipeline Authority (KPA) issued the notice of request for bidders to formally express interest in the tender.
Records revealed that a minimum of 15 countries showed interest, with the prequalification stage scheduled for July 2016 and project commencement set for the start of 2017.
However, reports by the Daily Nation revealed that CCCC was awarded the tender as late as June 30, 2018, with KPA reportedly holding back on making the announcement until September of the same year for unclear reasons.
Alarms immediately started blaring as the Chinese firm, along with the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), had been blacklisted from all World Bank Funded Projects in 2009 for an eight-year period.
This was after an investigation by the World Bank had led to the discovery that CRBC had participated in illegal and collusive exercises in the Philippines that entailed bribing state officials to guarantee non-competitive and manufactured high bid prices.
In 2011, the World Bank then blacklisted CCCC in connection to the CRBC incident in the Philippines.
7 years later, the Chinese firm was awarded the lucrative Kipevu tender, leading a whistleblower to pen a letter to the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and EACC requesting for the termination of the tender in August 2018.
On its part, the Chinese firm was adamant that being blacklisted by the World Bank did not bar it from bidding for contracts.
“CCCC was, and has, not from any point been debarred by the World Bank from participating or bidding for port projects,” the company asserted in a letter to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) signed by Li Qiang on September 3, 2018.
The EACC is reportedly in the process of bringing in past and present port managers for questioning over the matter with former KPA managing director Catherine Mturi-Wairi having already recorded her statement with the authorities.
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