The Court of Appeal has declared the entire Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) contract illegal after activist Okiya Omtata filed an apeal in the court.
According to a ruling delivered by a three-judge bench comprising of Justices Martha Koome(Presiding)Jamila Mohamed and Gatembu Kairu, Kenya Railways didn’t comply with procurement laws.
The Judges set aside the part of the judgment of the High Court, which held that the procurement of the SGR was exempt from the provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act,2005 by reason of Section 6(1) thereof.
They, however, substituted an order declaring that Kenya Railways Corporation, the procuring entity, failed to comply with, and violated provisions of Article 227(1)of the Constitution and Sections 6(1 and 29, of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 59 2005 in the procurement of the SGR project.
Activist Okiya Omtata told the press that the project didn’t offer value for money, with its cost being highly inflated.
Omtata further stated that the project’s design and supervision of the construction services, which amounted to Sh11 billion, were duplicated, causing a loss to the taxpayers.
However, the government disputed Omtata’s claims arguing that the allegations had no bases and that the project is of benefit to the public.
During a court hearing in January this year, as the state was seeking to have the case thrown out, China Road and Bridges Corporation, through lawyer Kiragu Kimani, claimed that the case was inconsequential since SGR was already operational.
Kimani told the court that SGR had been operating since 2017 and had ferried two million passengers and an average of 30 cargo and four passenger trains.
After losing the case in the High Court, Omtata moved to the Court of Appeal with support from the Law Society of Kenya, where he accused the government of single sourcing for the project.
He added that Parliament was not involved in the approval of the project.