A water tank that cost Ksh10,000 was being sold for Ksh46,000.

Alfa Mercantile inflated prices for water tanks for Kibera fish farming to Ksh14 million

The directors of a company that supplied plastic water tanks worth Ksh14 million to the National Youth Service (NYS) have been taken to task for overpricing the tanks that were used to support fish farming in Kibera and Mathare slums.

Ms Dyna Wanjiru Mbugua, the chief executive officer of Alfa Mercantile Limited and a co-director, Simon Migwi, were hard pressed to explain how a water tank retailing currently at Ksh10,000 was supplied to NYS at a cost of Ksh46,000 in 2014.

The two faced more trouble when the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) demanded specifications for the 288 tanks that the firm said were customised to meet NYS requirements for its fish units projects.

PAC is investigating a special audit report on the procurement of goods and services at the NYS following revelations that the service may have lost Ksh1.8 billion through fraud. The committee had ordered a special forensic audit on the procurements at NYS following the theft of Ksh791 million.

Ms Mbugua told the committee that her firm was asked by the National Youth Service to provide quotations for supply of water tanks. The firm was to provide 144 cylindrical open plastic fish water tanks at a cost of Sh7.2 million and 144 plastics open tanks at a cost of Sh6.8 million which it said were bought from Kentainers Limited.

 “Without specifications, your tanks are four times more expensive than the current price of containers which is Ksh10,000. But to you, in 2014, your tanks went at Sh46,000 each. What is the justification? We want to know when you got to the suppliers list of NYS,” Nicholas Gumbo who chairs PAC said.

Ms Mbugua said her firm had been prequalified as suppliers to NYS and that they were picked to supply the one cubic meter tanks because they were the lowest bidder. “We know there are people out there who are unable to get government business. We have applied to many ministries including Defence but we have not been successful. We were the lowest bidders and that is why we got the business,” Mr Migwi told the committee.

Mr Gumbo directed that the former NYS director Nelson Githinji and Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti be required to provide the list of other bidders.

[crp]

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