Contractors and county staff involved in the saga surrounding the construction of Mumias Level IV and Shamakhubu Hospitals in Mumias West and Shinyalu Sub-Counties risk facing punitive measures if the recommendations by the Assembly Committee on Monitoring and Implementation are to go by.
This is due to what is determined by the committee as shoddy works done at the two health facilities.
The two hospitals said to have been flagship projects in the first County Integrated Development Plan 2013-2017 are yet to be fully implemented despite having been funded in subsequent budgets.
Speaking after tabling the report and moving a motion for its deliberation on Thursday afternoon, the Chairperson to the Committee and member representing Ingotse-Matiha Ward, Hon. Absolom Andati told the House that the committee findings after the site visits and perusal of documents availed were worrying and disheartening.
“Mr. Speaker Sir, the committee noted and confirmed glaring inconsistencies on the ground in comparison to the documents availed,” stated Hon. Andati.
The report states that Mumias Level IV hospital was allocated Kshs. 191.116 Million in the financial year (FY) 2015-2016, works commenced in June, 2016 and expected to be complete by June, 2018 but this was not the case. Instead, the facility was set up as an Isolation Center during the surge of Covid-19 pandemic and has remained operational to date though still at 85% complete.
It further reveals that most of the works had been poorly done or not done at all with areas affected being; the pharmacy that was said to be incomplete, laboratory with uninstalled electricity, laundry room with no drier and ironing table, kitchen with poor works without chimney, poor plumbing works and radiology room was incomplete without the recommended LED doors.
As at the time of reporting, payment certificates and vouchers for the facility was at Kshs. 247.97 Million as the amount paid add retention, Kshs. 198.07 Million as Contract sum add variations with Kshs. 49.91 Million being extra amount paid that was unaccounted for.
This, according to the Chairperson, contradicted with the certificate of payment approving retention (signed by the County Architect, Project Manager and Contractor) indicated that Kshs. 212.79 Million and Kshs. 176.13 Million had been paid as gross and net payments respectively.
With regards to the Shamakhubu hospital, out of the contracted sum of Kshs. 199.14 Million, Kshs. 195.30 Million (98.1%) had been paid to a project that was to be completed in July, 2017 yet the works were at 85% as at the time of reporting.
The House was also informed that the Consultant had revised the contract sum to Kshs. 229.14 Million with date of completion being July, 2022.
The delay in commencement of works was attributed to the design changes.
Areas of concern at the facility were; no proper fencing and the gate, landscaping, electricity installation, plumbing, painting fitting of windows and doors among other necessities.
Amount paid with retention was reported to be Kshs. 391.91 Million, contract sum plus variations was Kshs. 229.14 Million thus leaving Kshs. 162.77 Million as unaccounted for extra amount paid as per the documents availed.
Absorption rate for the two facilities was said to be at 73% with Kshs. 566.01 Million being expensed out of a total of Kshs. 771.12 Million meant for construction.
This, according to the Members of County Assembly (MCAs) is a worrying trend and that an action by the very House was necessary. Kshs. 165.68 Million was meant for equipping the facilities.
While seconding the report, nominated MCA, Hon. Sylviah Muteshi said the report would help get the root cause as to why the projects had taken long to be completed.
She was backed by the Leader of Majority, Hon. Philip Maina who added that for the county residents to appreciate the value for their money, the implementation of the report was crucial.
In his submission, Malaha/Isongo/Makunga Ward representative, Hon. Peter Walunya insisted that those found to be guilty to be subjected to disciplinary measures than letting them walk scot-free. He was backed by Hon. Elphas Shilosio who asserted that culprits were to be brought to books by relevant committee.
Mumias Central Ward MCA Hon. Ali Okomba whose area of jurisdiction lies the Mumias Level IV hospital registered his disappointment with the sorry state at the facility adding that the project was meant to help his people and blamed those concerned for lacking seriousness with poor supervision of the works.
Other legislators who supported the report were; Butali/Chegulo Ward MCA, Hon. Kevin Mahelo, Isukha South MCA, Hon. Charles Lwanga, Bunyala East MCA, Hon. Charles Lwanga among others.
The House resolved that necessary action be taken and directed the Committee on Monitoring and Implementation to make a follow-up and ensure that all recommendations are adhered to the latter.
“Mr. Speaker Sir……., no further payments should be made to the contractors for the funds budgeted for FY 2022-2023 and their contracts be terminated,” affirmed the Chairperson. This was informed by the fact that the two contractors did collude with the county officers to loot from the public coffers that added up to Kshs. 159 Million.
It was also resolved that Tender Evaluation Committees, Project Managers and County Officers whose names were adversely mentioned be held accountable for the lost funds to be recovered.
Disciplinary measures should be implemented 21 days after the adoption of the report.
Elsewhere, Members of County Assembly (MCAs) and staff have been urged to own, support and embrace the Assembly activities as a way of making it better.
Speaking in a different sitting held by the Committee on Budget and Appropriations on Thursday morning, Murhanda Ward MCA, Hon. Elphas Shilosio who is the vice-chairperson to the County Assembly Service Board (CASB) lauded the Committee on Budget and Appropriations for the commitment it has shown in the budget-making process.
Hon.Shilosio defended the Assembly proposed budget estimates for the FY 2023-2024 welcomed members’ positive contributions towards making it better noting that each proposed allocation was of importance.
He however, acknowledged the fact that the funds were insufficient and that moving forward, the Board was determined in exploring all alternative avenues of increasing County Assembly allocations.
“This budget is for us……and incase of any change (amendment), we need to agree as an Assembly and own it,” advised the soft-spoken legislator.
He was responding to the committee members’ proposals in changing allocations to some vote heads in the proposed budget estimates.
Among the proposals were; Kshs. 3.6 Million be reduced from the proposed Kshs. 8 Million for purchasing vehicles, entertainment allocation of Kshs. 2 Million be reduced by Kshs. 1 Million and allocation on stationary and general office supplies be reduced by Kshs. 200,000.
All deductions were to be added to the allocation on office furniture for Ward offices.
The Committee is in the process of compiling report on the County Budget Estimates for the FY 2023-2024.