FIGHT ROADS SECTOR GRAFT

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The road construction sector has over the years been notorious for corruption. There have been tales of roads said to have been built, yet there was no evidence of this despite millions of shillings having been gobbled up.

There has also been a litany of shoddily constructed roads that have been handed over to the government after engineers supervising the works presumably had their palms greased.

In most cases, some hopeless work is done, wasting public funds. Such projects have to be redone at an extra cost and only after a short time. Yet roads are an important aspect of the development of infrastructure that eases the movement of people and goods and boosts the economy.

As the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission once pointed out, the road construction sector is vulnerable to corruption because of the size, complexity and potentially huge cost of most of the projects. This is why it calls for extra vigilance to stop local and international crooks from profiteering.

Though foreign companies have generally done a good job on infrastructure projects, there have been a few crooked ones. They include a Chinese firm that lost a Sh2.1 billion contract over the stalled construction of a road in central Kenya due to lack of capacity. Ironically, it has been awarded two more tenders worth 10 times more than the lost tender.

The Public Procurement Regulatory Authority is concerned over the possible loss of taxpayers’ money. The regulator wants the firm banned from more tenders, accusing it of being given preferential treatment by procurement officials despite doing shoddy work.

In 2020, yet another Chinese construction firm on a project in western Kenya was accused of forging National Construction Authority documents to win government tenders. Foreign firms that have been flagged over corruption would not have been able to so easily execute the illegal deals without collusion with wayward local operatives. Graft must be relentlessly fought and eliminated to get quality roads built.

Credit to Daily Nation

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