Members of Parliament have clashed with Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani over what they termed as a ‘secret’ recruitment of a second bulk grain handler at the Mombasa Port.
The Finance committee of the National Assembly chaired by Homa Bay Woman MP Gladys Wanga alleged a secret plot by the CS to recruit the firm without due process.
They argued the bulk grain handler can only be recruited through competitive bidding saying they have credible reports of a plan to single source the grain handler.
Last November, the committee recommended that the Kenya Ports Authority should consider engaging a second grain handler at the Port citing the increased volume of business through the facility.
In the report tabled in the House, MPs restated the need for competitive bidding and that the entire process should be opened for public scrutiny.
“In order to optimize revenue collection, KPA should fast-track the authorization, design, development and commissioning of other bulk grain handlers for efficiency and effectiveness by 2022,” the report reads.
“The process of appointing new operators for the grain bulk handling services in the country must be fair, open, transparent, and adhere to the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act.”
But lawmakers argue that cargo throughput in the port has been rising over the years hence the need for expansion to boost efficiency.
The Gladys Wanga-led committee, however, raised concerns that the National Treasury has already commenced the process arguing the same is shrouded in secrecy.
In a meeting with CS Yatani on Wednesday, MPs said they wouldn’t accept any move contrary to what they recommended last year.
“The process should not be shrouded in secrecy. Let Kenyans know what is happening. We have received complaints that there are so many applications out there but no response so far,” Wanga said.
Lawmakers said Parliament will not be a party to any recruitment or contracting of a new bulk grain handler that would be done without their input.
“Parliament will stand up and protect the interest of Kenyans,” Luanda MP Chris Omulele said.
The MPs said several members of the public have volunteered a lot of information with Parliament on the supposed contract award to a second bulker.
In his response, Yatani told MPs that he was not aware of the letter the committee was talking about but admitted that there have been engagements with KPA over the recruitment of the bulk grain handler.
The CS said the process will be competitive and that anyone who will not be satisfied with the eventual can seek recourse at the Judiciary.
However, the Finance committee wants a new date with CS Yatani and the new acting KPA MD John Mwangemi to shed more light on the concerns raised
MPs hold that to promote efficiency, the government should provide critical infrastructure to continually expand and leverage technology to maximize return on investment.