Sinotec, which has undertaken various multibillion- shilling projects in Kenya is accused by AfDB of misrepresenting its experience so as to win tenders from AfDB.
These include the Last Mile Connectivity Project that links Kenyan homes to the national grid under a subsidised President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government programme meant to speed up electrification.
“An investigation conducted by the Bank’s Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption established that Sinotec Company Ltd misrepresented its experience, the value and dates of its reference contracts and its relationship with other bidders while participating in three Bank-financed tenders,” said the AfDB in a statement.
In 2018 Kenya Power contracted Sinotec for the second phase of Last Mile Project.
Sinotec’s brief in the project was mainly to design, supply and install 3,000km low-voltage single-phase lines and supply cables in Kisumu, western Kenya and Mount Kenya regions.
During the three years of debarment, Sinotec will be ineligible to be awarded contracts under any AfDB-financed project or be a subcontractor, consultant, supplier, or service provider of an eligible firm.
AfDBadded the decision will also see other multilateral development banks including the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank Group blacklist the firm.
Kenya Power is currently embroiled in a dispute with local contractors over mega projects. It is accused of locking them out of bidding in favour of foreigners.
Kenyans have called out the Last Mile Project for being a scam which added little value to the lives of those that were given electricity.
Reports indicate that the project failed as those connected especially in the rural areas couldn’t afford to pay their electricity bills and hence disconnection.
Experts observed that this led to the high electricity bills on the ones who are able to pay. This scam was exposed at Kenya Power, the electricity distributor, but up to now, no one has been charged.
— Apollo Mboya, HSC (@MboyaApollo) June 9, 2018
The Jubilee government’s push to hook up rural households to the national power grid under the Last Mile project continues to meet strong setbacks as homes default on buying electricity. – @dailynation
— mmnjug™ (@mmnjug) May 6, 2020
Kenya Power regional managers who spoke to the Sunday Nation in confidence said they have been forced to seize several meters from rural households who are unwilling to pay for power or could not afford it.
“Some did not need power in the first place, so when they have Sh100 for example, they would rather spend it on food. Others simply thought it was completely free and have never bought tokens after the free units were exhausted. They barely even understand that the meter is supposed to be paid for in instalments yet they signed agreements,” said a manager based in the Eastern region.