Senators probe identity of Galana-Kulalu farmland clearing contractor

Senators are questioning the identity of a contractor who was awarded the tender to clear the 20,000-acre Galana-Kulalu model farm at a cost of 540 million shillings.

While demanding a technical and financial audit of the ambitious food security project, the lawmakers allege that Kenyans might have lost over 3 billion shillings through dubious contracts.

Queries emerging at a time the auditor general disclosed it’s hard to determine whether monies allocated to the project were put into prudent use.

The controversy surrounding the troubled Galana-Kulalu Project in Tana River shows no sign of abating anytime soon.

Five years on, a cloud of uncertainty over financial improprieties still hangs above what had been billed as the country’s avenue to food security.

On Wednesday, Senators alleged that the project may have been used as a conduit to fleece the taxpayers. Key among the senate concerns, is the payment of 540 million shillings to a contractor to clear the farmland.

The Senators queried a variance of 3 billion shillings arising from the total cost of the project co-funded by the Government of Kenya at a cost of 5.7 billion shillings while the Israeli government was to pump in 6 billion shillings under a government to government deal.

Deputy Director in charge of Special audits Sammy Kimunguri from the Office of the Auditor General told the Agriculture Committee that the project was to be contracted at a sum of 14.5 billion shillings but was later revised to 7.2 billion shillings due to inadequate funds even though it later emerged that evidence was adduced to show why the amount was reduced.

Kimunguri further disclosed that the company that conducted the feasibility study, design and costing was a subsidiary of the parent company M/S Green Arava which was later awarded the contract to implement the farming project.

The Committee has since asked the auditor general to conduct a technical and financial audit of the project in a bid to save the troubled project and that those found to have used it for personal financial gain be brought to book.



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