Kenya MPs want probe into Sh3.4bn Somalia wall

Members of Kenyan Parliament have called for investigations into how Sh3.4 billion was spent on a 10-kilometre stretch of barbed wire and chain-link fence on the Kenya-Somalia border.

The wall, dubbed the Kenya-Somalia Border Securitisation Project, was mooted in 2015 to secure the country from attacks by Somalia-based Al Shabaab terrorists.

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) engineers had estimated that the entire 700-kilometre length of the border would cost a total of Sh8 billion, but it is now emerging that nearly half of that amount was spent on only a 10-kilometre stretch.

“I have no problem with the wall, but you cannot use the threat of insecurity to steal and plunder money. The chair of the committee must bring a recommendation to this report to say that there is no value for money and that Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and Directorate of Criminal investigations (DCI) must move in” National Assembly’s Leader of Majority Aden Duale said Wednesday.

The Defence and Foreign Affairs parliamentary committee, chaired by Kajiado South MP Katoo Ole Metito, says in a report that the project involves border fence installation using chain-link, razor wire, barbed wire, angle bars and concrete posts.

It also involves the excavation of a side ditch, upgrading of border posts and construction of border control roads.

‘A fence’

“It is not even a wall, it is a fence. The people who duped the country that there is a wall to be built must be investigated,” said Mr Duale.

Minority Leader John Mbadi demanded that the Interior ministry tables details of the Sh3.4 billion expenditure.

The project was sanctioned by the National Security Advisory Council (NSAC) chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2015.

It was divided into three with the Northern Sector covering 160 kilometres costing Sh3.5 billion while the Central Sector, the longest covering 445 kilometres, was estimated would cost Sh1.9 billion.

The Southern Sector covering 105 kilometres was expected to cost Sh2.6 billion when complete.

KDF engineers undertook the original estimated cost of the wall, which is classified as a national security project.

The Northern Sector covers Mandera and Elwak, Central Sector(Elwak to Libat) while the Southern Sector starts from Libat to Kiunga.

Loss of civilians

The project was initially implemented by the Interior ministry before the President directed that it be taken over by the Ministry of Defence following escalation of attacks on personnel and equipment especially in the Southern Sector, Lamu, resulting in loss of a number of civilians and security personnel.

The National Youth Service (NYS) is the project contractor.

“By the time the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government handed over the project to the Ministry of Defence, 10 kilometres of wall had already been done from the BP1 past Mlima Fisi.

“Further, another seven kilometres of ditch construction had also been done,” states the inquiry report.

The wall was expected to ease surveillance of the border, deter incursion byterrorists, reduce porosity along the border, facilitate effective control of movement of persons and goods across the border and ease registration of persons.

“The Ministry of Interior handed over the project to the Ministry of Defence, the contractor was NYS. The Ministry of Defence is in a good position to provide the identity of the current contractor,” the committee said in the report.

Mr Mbadi questioned why the country undertook the project on its own yet the terrorist threat extends beyond Kenya’s borders.

“This is too mechanical. It looks like the Egyptian pyramids. It cannot work in modern Kenya,” said Mr Mbadi.

Source: Business Daily Africa 

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