Contractors Arrested Over Stalled Uhuru Project

  • The three were arrested for stalling a road project launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on July 1, 2017, in Machakos. File
  • A stalled Ksh1.2 billion road project launched two years ago by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Machakos County led to the arrest of an engineer and 3 contractors on Wednesday, October 8.

    K24 Digital reported on Thursday, October 10, that engineer Esther Mwangi of Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) who was supervising the government-funded Ekalakala-Matuu road project, together with contractors Zedekiah Opore, Simon Kaingo and Richard Ombati were arrested in Machakos.

    The three were arrested at the project's site office, in an operation led by Machakos County Commander John Karanja. They were meeting with the Machakos County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee.

    Members of the Machakos Presidential Development Unit inspecting the stalled road project at Ekalakala. Photo: K24  Digital.
    Members of the Machakos Presidential Development Unit inspecting the stalled road project at Ekalakala. Photo: K24 Digital.

    The 40-kilometre road branching off from Garissa-Thika Road running across Yatta and Masinga constituencies was not constructed to the required standards.

    The suspects were taken to Matuu Police Station to record statements on the circumstances under which the main contractor, Kitho Civil and Engineering, started and abandoned works on the road.

    They were also required to explain why the other sub-contractors identified as M/s Zedjay Investments Limited and Tekwara Services Limited were not engaged before the project started.

    A committee formed through a Presidential Executive Order chaired by Machakos County Commissioner Esther Maina grilled Kaingo, the main contractor before the arrest.

    The contractor had a difficult time explaining how he landed the expensive tender despite lacking capacity to accomplish the project.

    Kaingo failed to account for the Ksh100 million he had been given to tarmac the road in July 2017 after it was commissioned by the president.

    "Due to financial challenges, the main contractor M/s Kitho Civil and Engineering Company Limited requested to sub-contract some sections of the works to M/s Zedjay Investments Limited and M/s Tekwara Services Limited who were approved on May 28, 2019," Esther Mwangi told the committee.

    She, however, could not explain why the tender was given to a contractor who was financially incapacitated.

    An impassable road. Photo: Daily Nation.
    An impassable road in Kathiani Constituency, Machakos County. The residents called for the suspension of contractors. Photo: Daily Nation.