Probe airport top managers over bus scam, House says

Parliament wants the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate and prosecute senior managers at the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) who were involved in the procurement of five apron passenger buses.

The committee that investigated the controversial procurement of the buses also wants KAA to expedite the procurement of seven other buses and use the $2.1 million (Sh215 million) granted to the authority by the World Bank following the fire tragedy in August 2013.

The National Assembly Committee on Transport asked KAA to concession a third party to operate and maintain the seven buses once procured in line with the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2005.

The MPs singled out former KAA managing Lucy Mbugua, former general manager finance John Thumbi, former head of examination (finance) Martin Kamau, former airport engineer Christopher Warutere and former procurement manager Lillian Okidi for investigations and possible prosecution.

The lawmakers also want the acting finance manager Patrick Chonde to be investigated by EACC for abdicating his role in the procurement process and delegating the same to a junior officer, Martin Kamau.

“The committee recommends that the following officers who participated in the Second Negotiation Team … should be investigated by Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission for any procurement malpractice,” the committee chaired by Starehe MP Maina Kamanda said in the probe report to the House on the investigations into the procurement of the Sh11 million per month bus services to ferry passengers at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

President Uhuru Kenyatta blew the whistle on the tender when he questioned the $120,000 deal awarded to Relief and Mission Logistics Limited, saying the monthly payments of Sh11 million were excessive.

The controversial deal saw the sacking of Ms Mbugua, Mr Thumbi and Mr Warutere. The KAA board also terminated the contract given to Relief and Mission Logistics despite the company importing five buses to operate passenger shuttle services between the apron and the planes.

In its findings, the committee said the managers ignored the option for KAA to buy the buses and concession a third party to operate and maintain them despite recommendations. 

“KAA procured the apron bus services from Ms Relief and Mission Logistics Ltd without the existence of an adequate budget in contravention of the Public Procurement and Disposal Regulations of 2006,” the report states.

The MPs found that the tendering process begun before negotiation with the airlines on the service charge to gauge the viability of the business.

KAA also established a negotiation team after awarding the tender to Ms Relief and Mission Logistics Ltd thereby contravening the procurement Act.