The Nakuru County Commissioner (CC), Joshua Nkanatha has issued a 30 day ultimatum to a local road contractor to turn over to the public a usable Elementaita-Mau Narok road or face prosecution.
The CC said the contractor Nyoro Construction Company has been working on the 24 kilometres road for the last 19 months and his sloppy works have prompted a spate of protests from residents in recent months.
Nkanatha revealed that only four kilometres of the road meant to connect the Central and Southern Rift tourism circuit has been tarred.
“The road with over a kilometre already dilapidated has cost the tax payer Ksh.233 million of the Ksh. 964 million allocated for its works,” Nkanatha said.
He was speaking in Elementaita where he led the County security committee and engineers from the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KERRA) in a fact finding tour of the road.
Nkanatha warned that if the contractor will fail to complete the remaining 20 kilometres within the remaining six months of the stipulated time frame, he will recommend the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate the contractor and two engineers tasked with supervising construction works on the road.
The administrator also urged the state department of roads and the treasury to stop further payments to the contractor until he reconstructs dilapidated sections of the four kilometres said to be complete.
Nkanatha said: “The government will keep track of all ongoing government funded projects in the county to ensure that citizens find value for their taxes and unscrupulous contractors that fail to deliver as required are duly surcharged”.
His sentiments comes barely a month after residents and traders in the agrarian region of Mau Narok staged a day long demonstration demanding that the government ejects the contractor from the road for what they claimed was his shoddy works.
The Commercial motor cyclists and cargo transporters lamented high costs of repairing their motor cycles, trucks and tractors.Traders say their businesses have not been able to break even owing to the poor state of the road.
Angry farmers said the road was pivotal to growth of the economy and appealed to the government to blacklist the contractor whom they accused of crippling the economy of the area they said relies on tourism and agriculture.
However, Nyoro construction company site engineer, Sammy Mwangi blamed the works on another team of road designers, saying the design they are using now lacks waste water drainage facilities among other standard amenities.
He however, said the road will be completed as scheduled once they redesign the area to provide for other amenities.
They said the substandard design they are forced to work with has compelled them to construct a low grade road longer than the 24 months’ timeline envisaged in the contract schedule.
The latest development comes two months after Infrastructure Principal Secretary, Julius Korir inspected some ongoing road works in Nakuru County and promised to cancel contracts that have either stalled or may not be completed by the year 2020.
By Anne Mwale