Kenyan lawmakers want more details on $5 billion rail loan after partially released contract | So Good News


Some Kenyan lawmakers are demanding to see more documents from a $5 billion loan deal with a Chinese bank that financed a cross-country railway. The 2011 agreement was shielded from public view until Kenya’s transport secretary, Kipchumba Murkomen, released selected pages on Sunday.

Critics of the deal with the Export-Import Bank of China that financed the Standard Gauge Railway say the pages show the Kenyan government gave too much legal authority to China, and lawmakers now want to know whether Kenya put up public facilities as collateral in the deal. .

One clause says any major dispute over the railway will be settled in Beijing, not Nairobi, although it is not clear whether that means Chinese officials have the final say in such disputes.

The documents also show, among other things, that the Kenyan government was legally obliged to keep the details of the agreement secret.

Click on the image for our special project
Click on the image for our special project

Kenyan political analyst Javas Bigambo said it is illegal to force the state to hide such information from the public.

“The non-disclosure agreement provided in that contract is itself illegal, as the procurement laws in Kenya advocate transparent procurement processes,” Bigambo said.

Another part of the contract requires Kenya not to buy materials for the railway from any country other than China.

Some lawmakers believe that important details of the contract, such as collateral for the loans, are still missing.

“The question of what security is put against this loan, if there are public facilities, public institutions, public investments that are put as security,” said John Kiare, a member of the Kenyan parliament. “It is only right that Kenyans know because there have been rumors that some government institutions are being put up as infrastructure. There was always debate about whether we have put our airport as collateral for this loan.”

Critics questioned Murkomen’s motive for not releasing the entire contract.

Makali Mulu, a Member of Parliament, believes Murkomen only revealed the routine parts of the deal.

“In every contract negotiation, the government has a legal person who will normally look at all the clauses and then inform the government if it is okay to sign,” Mulu said. “In every contract there are always disclosure clauses and dispute resolution clauses, and what Murkomen said he would release to me was a big joke.”

The approximately 600 kilometer long railway, which connects the port city of Mombasa with the city of Naivasha 75 km northwest of Nairobi, opened five years ago. Critics say it is underutilized and has failed to generate the revenue or economic development that proponents of the project envisioned. China accounts for a third of Kenya’s external debt.


Source link