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Mwakwere probed over Standard Gauge Railway

04 February 2014, 14:15 Kelvin Wanjohi

Nairobi - Former Transport Minister, Chirau Ali Mwakwere was grilled Monday for close to three hours by the parliamentary Public Investments Committee (PIC) over the Standard Gauge railway.

The Committee, led by the chairman Adan Keynan, told the former minister who handled the Transport docket in the last administration to explain how the contract landed to the controversial Chinese company, China Road and Bridges Company.

Mwakwere, who the Chairman of the PIC described as arrogant and cheeky owing to the manner he was responding to questions, said that he had personally identified the firm due to its commendable road projects it was undertaking in the country at that time, and to top it’s list of success, it was the same firm that constructed China’s Shanghai-Beijing Standard gauge railway which won praise around the globe.

“How we came about the China Road and Bridges Company was my own initiative, and when I say my Own initiative, I mean myself and top officials in my ministry,” said Mwakwere.

However, when asked whether he knew that the company had been blacklisted in the Philippines for corrupt deals, Mwakwere said that that was even before they thought of awarding them the tender and that they were only bound by a memorandum of understanding that was signed between a non cabinet member and the company leaving the matter to both governments of Kenya and China.

 “Kenya is among the list of countries leading in corruption, and that was then. Now I don’t know whether we went further up or down, all I know is that you can’t judge the past and the current,” he excused himself.

He also said that he had given the government approximately 3-5 billion Us Dollars for the total completion of the project and he left the ministry long before the project was implemented, saying the contract was yet to be given to the company.

He told the committee members to follow up with officials in the current government since he is not authorized to handle any official government document as he is no longer in government.

Consequently, the committee has summoned Mwakwere's predecessor, Amos Kimunya for failing to appear before the committee after he wrote to the committee saying he might be of no use to the ongoing investigations.

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