Kenya

Shame as Sh233 million stalled project rots away

An incomplete multi -million North-Rift Technical institute -Chemolingot town in Baringo County on May 31,2018.The project has stalled since it was started in 2011. [Photo:Kipsang Joseph/Standard]

The construction of a technical training institute in Chemolingot, Tiaty constituency, has stalled for the past two years after the contractor abandoned the project.

North Rift Technical Training Institute, that was meant to benefit hundreds of students from the region, would have cost the Government Sh233 million. However, it was abandoned by the contractor over delayed payment.

The institute sits on 100 acres that was donated to the national government by the community 12 years ago to facilitate development.

Huge cracks on the walls and thorny bushes now dot what was meant to be an entrance to the college. Old wooden frames meant to support the gate during construction are rotting while construction materials including iron sheets and metal rods are rusty.

Francis Lokorwa, 38, told The Standard trouble began in 2016, when work started to slow down and workers went unpaid.

Mr Lokorwa has been manning the construction site and doubles up as a storekeeper since December 9, 2011, when the project started.

“Work started well until 2012, when the project slowed down. It then picked up but in 2014 it went down again,” said Lokorwa.

At the time of inception of the project, former Tiaty MP Asman Kamama served as the assistant minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology.

Auditor General Edward Ouko noted in his 2015-2016 audit report that the Government failed to extend the contract after it lapsed in 2013, making it difficult for the contractor to finish the institute.

Mr Ouko further questioned the Government's decision to procure electronic and electrical equipment worth Sh185 million even before the institute was complete.

“Available information indicates that the institute was not complete and as a result, the electronic and electrical engineering equipment procured were instead taken to Baringo Technical Training Institute,” read the Auditor General's report.

Seven years

According to the report, the ministry could not explain why procurement of equipment was done for an incomplete project. Seven years since its inception, the project remains incomplete.

Lokorwa said hopes of having a college faded a long time ago, but he urged the Government to intervene so it could finally be completed. He also revealed that he had not been paid his Sh10,000 monthly salary for a year.

Daniel Tuwit, Member of the County Assembly for Ribkwo ward where the incomplete construction stands, wants an audit conducted to ascertain the amount of money pumped into the project and its use.

Henry Lelei, the project contractor, told The Standard by phone that insecurity in the region over the years and delays in payment had slowed down construction.

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