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Of Ghost State Projects And Gobbled Up Millions

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An expose done by Nation – Kenya’s stadium millionaires – has laid bare how top government officials including current Cabinet Secretary for Trade and Industry Moses Kuria ended up profiteering from the unfulfilled promise by former President Uhuru Kenyatta and his then deputy William Ruto who had vowed to construct upto nine stadiums while seeking re-election back into office for a second term in the 2017 elections.

In the heart wrenching story, Nation uncovers how the top officials received hefty payment for not doing any substantial work on the projects if at all any with the majority of the facilities now slowly turning into white elephants and grazing fields in projects that were hoped would turn around the sporting sector in the country.

Karatu Stadium, Kiambu County

On January 5, 2017, Smith and Gold Productions Ltd was handed the site on which Karatu Stadium in Gatundu South constituency would be built.

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The firm had bagged a tender to construct a world class facility for Ksh 259,604,780.

Records from the Business Registration Service (BRS) indicate that the firm, incorporated on July 16, 2013, is jointly owned by Emerging Capital Holdings Ltd (700 shares) and Aloise Kinyanjui Kuria (300 shares).

Emerging Capital Holdings Ltd is fully owned by Mr Moses Kiarie Kuria, while Aloise Kinyanjui Kuria is the CS’s brother.

The Nation reports Smith and Gold Productions Ltd had no previous record of building stadiums within specifications drawn by Sports Kenya, a department of the Ministry of Sports.

Approximately 40 per cent of the funds had been released to Smith and Gold, but only 20 per cent of work was done.

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In 2020, the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Sports, Culture and Tourism noted that funds had dried up from the government side, but Smith & Gold had not done work equivalent to the Sh102 million it had already been released.

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Kamariny Stadium, Elgeyo Marakwet

Funan Construction was hired to put up the Kamariny Stadium for Sh287,837,775.

The company was founded by Daniel Gacheru Ndiang’ui, who died in 2015.

He owned 900 shares at the time. His sons Peter Wambugu Gacheru, Joel Kaburi Gacheru and Daniel Ndiang’ui Gacheru each own 30 shares in Funan Construction.

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David and his sister Fiona Wacuka Gacheruwere in 2017 given authority to manage their father’s estate pending completion of the succession process.

The company had received Sh81 million, or 28 per cent of the contract sum.

Sports Kenya reported work done to be at 30 per cent, but the National Assembly committee held that the completion status may have been exaggerated.

Kipchoge Keino Stadium, Uasin Gishu

Weihai International Economic & Technical Cooperative Company Ltd (WIETC) was tasked with putting up the Kipchoge Keino Stadium for Sh304,204,413.

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The Chinese government-owned company had received Sh165 million, or 54 per cent of the contract sum.

WIETC was the only company hired to put up stadiums that rejected the return-to-work framework deal and instead issued Sports Kenya with a notice of contract termination.

The company cited breach of contract, through delay in funds disbursement, and oppressive terms in the return-to-work framework.

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Interestingly, the Chinese firm was the only one in the pool of stadium contractors that was not accused of inflating its completion status.

WIETC had done approximately 60 per cent of the works despite receiving 54 per cent of the contract sum. After the Chinese firm’s exit, Golbo Construction Ltd won a tender to complete the works.

Golbo Construction is expected to finish the project whose total cost was Sh138 million, but it stalled again.

Kirubia Stadium, Tharaka Nithi County

Toddy Civil Engineering, which belongs to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Board chairperson Anthony Mwaura, won a tender to put up Kirubia Stadium for Sh274,208,855.

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Mr Mwaura owns 45,000 shares in the company, while his wife Rose Njeri Ng’ang’a has 5,000 shares. The script is virtually the same as that in Gatundu South. After funds dried up, a return-to-work formula was signed in 2020.

By this time, the firm had received Sh159 million and done approximately 70 per cent of the work.

Strangely, it was only midway through construction that MPs discovered that land allocated to the project was not enough to encompass all sports disciplines as hoped by government.

Wote Stadium, Makueni County

In Wote, Makueni County, another set of politicians was contracted to put up a stadium for Sh299,309,554.

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Taphes & Nitram Enterprises was also to complete the project in eight months.

BRS records show that Josphat Mwanzia Kasyoka owns 900 shares in the company. Mr Kasyoka unsuccessfully vied for the Kyeleni Ward Representative seat in the 2022 General Election.

In February, 2021 then Sports CS Amina Mohamed fired Taphes & Nitram. She stated that the ministry did not believe in the firm’s capacity to deliver the project.

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Just like Mr Kuria’s firm, Taphes & Nitram had received nearly 40 per cent of the contract sum but only done approximately 20 per cent of the work.

And just like Mr Kuria’s firm, there was no evidence to show that Taphes & Nitram had experience in stadium construction.

The National Assembly committee found that Sports Kenya may have approved payment for incomplete work.

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Marsabit Stadium, Marsabit County

In Marsabit County, there was hope that a new stadium would promote sports and revenue diversification in the country’s second biggest devolved unit.

Sports Kenya hired Benisa Construction Ltd for the project for Sh295,236,215.

At the time of the National Assembly report, the firm had received Sh125 million, or 42 per cent of the contract sum. While Sports Kenya claimed that 45 per cent of the work had been done, the committee that visited the site begged to differ.

The committee held a similar opinion on most of the other stadium projects, an indication of possible collusion between Sports Kenya officials and private firms to inflate completion rates, in an attempt to fast-track payment for work not done.

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Benjamin is also the father to socialite Joan Kubai.

Benisa Construction Ltd is owned by Benjamin Kubai Macharia (500 shares), his wife Isabella Wairimu Kubai (250 shares) and son Jadiel Macharia Kubai (250 shares). The company was incorporated on June 17, 2009.


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