State House Chief Of Staff Nzioka Waita Reveals How Graft Occurs In Mega Gov’t Projects

Written by on 3 February 2022

State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita has disclosed how graft in the country crops up in major national government projects.

Waita affirmed that just as the government rolls out projects in accordance with the budgetary allocations every year, key players set in to sabotage the projects with corruption taking a toll.

He highlighted the cases ranging from the ministry officials to the contractors awarded the tenders, engineers who are the hand-men down to locals where the developments occur.

Payment of non-existent projects

In an interesting revelation, Waita pointed out that officials in the ministries were liaising with contractors and ground men in a well-culminated syndicate in a bid to defraud the government by presenting ghost projects.

According to Waita, prior to the initiation of the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU), government officials would collude with contractors to award payments to non-existent projects and incomplete works.

He pointed out that monitoring and correlating projects was a challenging issue and that was why PDU formed the National Development Implementation and Communication Committee (NDICC).

NDICC, which is chaired by Internal Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, was formed to monitor developments and for accountability purposes.

“Roads are paid on certificate basis, a certificate is presented a resident engineer approves it in the first instance and sends it up the food chain and payment is approved. We have seen payments made for payments which do not exist,” he said in an interview with Citizen TV’s NewsNight show on Tuesday.

“Assistant chiefs know everything on the ground; why not leverage their knowledge to check whether the contractor is taking us for a walk down the garden path. Whether the resident engineer for the implementing agency has received a bribe to give the status of the road that is not complete?”Duplication of infrastructure

Waita similarly stated that duplication of infrastructure is a recurring issue that continues to bite major projects, especially in the road sector where corrupt officials hide behind already done projects as their own initiatives.

In this particular scenario, Waita spelt out that officials in the county government would ride on infrastructural achievements of the national government docket at the grassroots.

“The national government infrastructure is designed to deliver national government services. You need an ID, there are things you need… The problem we have is a perception that this relationship should be adversarial,” he said.

Waita indicated that both county and national governments had well clearly defined roles and the public should be keen on identifying specific roles for each.

Inflation of prices and compensation

The State House Chief of Staff used the Standard Railway Gauge (SGR) as an example of a project that has been a subject of contention when it comes to the issue of compensation.

He identified land tussle as a gateway for corrupt officials seeking to benefit from compensation programmes against the interests of the real victims displaced.

“Anybody who has not been compensated in the SGR is because there are question marks about the valuation process and corruption that was involved in the valuation process,” he stated.

However, Waita said the government was in the process of rooting out officials involved in the illegal acquisition of land.

“National Lands Commission has really been very efficient under the new leadership of Otachi and Kabale who have helped us unlock hundreds of projects across the country which were affected by compensation issues,” he explained.

On the same note, he said officials would hike compensation rates such that funds meant to compensate displaced victims would be so unattainable for the government hence were not paid.

Waita identified areas such as Mariakani, Ngong, Twala and Rongai as places where compensation figures were grossly exaggerated and the government had to halt the process to counter-check.

“Compensation in Kenya is a bit of a racket; this is why we are so cautious about it. An example is Eldoret Bypass, the whole process just cost shy of Ksh.4 billion but the compensation by now they are hitting Ksh 5.5 billion,” he stated.

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