The Auditor General speaks of shoddy work on Mau Mau Road

The Auditor-General has raised alarm over the poor quality of work carried out by a contractor on the Nyeri section of the Sh30 billion Mau Mau Road project, which could cost taxpayers huge repair costs.

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu, in a new report published this month, says the contractor for the Mau Mau Road Lot III, which covers Nyeri County, has failed to properly drain the road even though construction is behind schedule.

The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has awarded the tender for the construction of the road, which is part of the larger Mau Mau Road project, at a cost of Sh4.51 billion.

“The drainage banks of the main road were not reinforced with thrown stones and loose soil on the sides of the drainage fell down into the drainage channels at various parts of the road,” Ms Gathungu said.

“Delayed maintenance/repair work may result in further deterioration of the defects, resulting in huge repair costs. Under the circumstances, the effectiveness and efficiency of the use of public funds could not be confirmed.”

KeNHA awarded the road tender in February 2020 for 36 months, but it was later extended to 47 months. The contractor was further granted an extension of 337 days to complete the project.

The Auditor-General, however, reveals that physical inspection conducted in July 2023 revealed that the amount certified to date, which had been paid in full, amounted to Sh1,775,574,791 and amounted to 39.28 percent of the contract sum. “The inspection found that the railway works were in the early stages and behind schedule despite the revised completion date of February 18, 2024,” Ms Gathungu said.

Once completed, the Mau Mau Road will cross the provinces of Murang’a, Kiambu, Nyeri and Nyandarua.

KeNHA has awarded contracts for the road in parcels covering each of the provinces. The project is controversial and has been strongly opposed by environmentalists over its impact on the Aberdare Forest ecosystem.

The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) had failed to approve an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report for the project, delaying its implementation.

Furthermore, the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said the construction of the road passing through Aberdare Forest is disrupting the local ecosystem.