CS Skips Event As Ministry Officials Vanish After Media Exposé

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta chairs a cabinet meeting at State House, Nairobi in April 18, 2019
    President Uhuru Kenyatta chairs a cabinet meeting at State House, Nairobi in April 18, 2019
    PSCU
  • In an event that took place on Tuesday, February 25, to mark 1000 days since the launch of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), senior Ministry of Transport officials never showed up.

    The no-show came as Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia remained on the spot after an exposé revealed how taxpayers' money was misappropriated during the construction of the first phase of Standard Gauge Railway.

    In a report published by the Daily Nation, CS Macharia was expected to lead the event but his role was taken over by Duncan Hunda, the head of railways and Lappset at the State Department of Transport.

    President Uhuru launches Nairobi-Suswa SGR passenger train service in October 2019
    President Uhuru launches Nairobi-Suswa SGR passenger train service in October 2019
    PSCU

    However, Hunda unexpectedly vanished even before delivering the CS's speech as the meeting was underway.

    The official reportedly left the event due to fear that the members of the press would demand answers in relation to the exposé.

    According to the publication, Macharia had received the invitation and had already confirmed attendance until the last minute.

    The Kenya Railways Corporation officials led by the managing director Philip Mainga and the entire board also kept away despite being the conveners of the meeting leading to even more confusion.

    The event programmes also indicated that the CS, board officials and the managing director were the key speakers - their absence leaving the key roles to junior officials from different departments.

    In the exposé, top in the list of the questionable spending was grass lawns at the intermediate stations and along some parts of the railway line that reportedly cost Ksh1 billion.

    The lead engineer in the project also reportedly received Ksh5 million airtime allowance within the three years the project was on course.

    Additionally, the lead engineer was provided with furniture for his office at a cost of Ksh57 million where each of his computers was bought at Ksh280,000 whereas his laserjet printers were purchased at Ksh513,700.

    His personal residence was also furnished at a cost of Ksh3 million.

    The Chinese experts also had an entertainment cost totalling Ksh239 million within the three years of the SGR construction.

    Other suspicious costs include the purchase of station loudspeakers at Ksh 28,800 each, video cabinets for Ksh1.14 million, workshop benches for Ksh180,000 and a ticketing system costing Ksh8.4 million.

    From left, Transport CS James Macharia, EAC CS Adan Mohamed, President Uhuru Kenyatta and US president Donald Trump during a meeting in the United States on February 6, 2020.
    From left, Transport CS James Macharia, EAC CS Adan Mohamed, President Uhuru Kenyatta and US president Donald Trump during a meeting in the United States on February 6, 2020.
    PSCU