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Storm over Sh18 million Umoja 1 Primary School swimming pool

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Kenyans paid for the construction of a Sh18-million swimming pool at Umoja 1 Primary School in Nairobi, an expenditure that is now raising eyebrows.

The pool was among projects funded by the Embakasi West Constituency Development Fund, under the leadership of Jubilee MP George Theuri, in the 2015/16 financial year.

In that year, according to a report by Auditor-General Edward Ouko, contracts for three construction projects and a youth training were procured through restricted tendering.

These are Umoja 1 Primary School swimming pool (Sh18,893,518), three classrooms at Supa Loaf Primary School (Sh8,070,944) and driving classes for Embakasi youth at Top Gear Driving School (Sh9,580,000).

During the audit by Mr Ouko’s office, no documentary evidence was produced to support restricted tendering, as spelled in law.

The time and cost required to examine and evaluate a large number of tenders would be disproportionate to the value of the goods, works or services to be procured; and

If there is evidence that there are only a few known suppliers of the whole market of the goods, works or services.

In his 2015/2016 reports, Mr Ouko raised questions about the cost and value of these projects.

And the Concern Citizens Kenya, a lobby group in Embakasi West Constituency, has also written to the anti-corruption watchdog (EACC) over the matter. The local watchdog wants the use of Sh18 million on the pool investigated.

Embakasi West MP George Theuri poses next to the swimming pool under construction at Umoja 1 Primary School on March 3, 2017. FILE PHOTO | NATION
Embakasi West MP George Theuri poses next to the swimming pool under construction at Umoja 1 Primary School on March 3, 2017. FILE PHOTO | NATION

EXAGGERATED COST

“We decided to write to EACC because as a community and residents of Embakasi West we feel Sh18 million for a swimming pool was exaggerated a lot,” said Bradley Ouna leader of the Concern Citizens Kenya.

“The revenue from the pool is not properly accounted for since it is operational,” added Ouna.

Residents interviewed by the Nation also claimed the pool is not worth Sh18 million as alleged by the CDF office.

According to swimming pool construction experts, there are two main types of pools that are done locally— the freeboard and deck level/overflow pool.

The shells for the PVC liner pools cost from Sh800,000 for an eight-metre by four metre pool up to Sh2 million for a 15 by 13-metre pool.

This cost, however, does not include the accessories or excavation fee.

The cost of the installation equipment, excavation, as well as the assembly costs an additional Sh800,000 to Sh1. 5 million depending on the size of the pool.

“When budgeting for a pool, a large one like the 25 by 13-metre pool, one should set aside between Sh9 to Sh10 million for the project,” said an expert at Kisio Swimming pools in Nairobi.

This cost is inclusive of the excavation, labour and materials. The swimming pool at Umoja 1 Primary Pchool is 25 by eight metres.

The pool was built on Umoja 1 Primary grounds after an agreement between the school and the CDF office.

SWIM FOR FREE

According to our sources, the school was to give out a piece of their land for the pool and in return, pupils would swim for free.

In the plan, the children would access to the pool using a different entrance from the public. The school would also get a percentage of the revenue generated from the facility.

But the Nation has learnt that, since the swimming started operating in 2017, the school has not received its share of the revenue.

Additionally, the pupils of Umoja 1 Primary pay Sh100 per swimming session, just like the public.

When the Nation visited the pool, there was no way to differentiate a pupil of Umoja 1 Primary from the public.

During our visit, we were accompanied by a pupil and upon identifying herself, she was still asked to pay.

“Our children are paying for the swimming sessions yet when the idea was shared the first time during AGM we were told because it’s on the school compound, our children would have free access,” a parent at the school, who sought anonymity fearing reprisals, told the Nation.

But on top of being charged, the children do not have a special access to the facility.

They have to walk out of the school compound and use a busy road and are exposed to the danger of badly driven matatus.

“It is really risky for the kids to access the pool, they have to leave the school compound and walk to the pool,” another parent said on condition of anonymity.

The entrance to the swimming pool located at Umoja 1 Primary School in Embakasi West constituency. The pool is opened to the public for a fee. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
The entrance to the swimming pool located at Umoja 1 Primary School in Embakasi West constituency. The pool is opened to the public for a fee. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

REVENUE

“This road is very dangerous for our kids, the Matatu are carelessly driven.”

But the head-teacher of the school, Mrs Frolence Muli, denied the claims.

“The students have never paid for swimming session plus the school has really benefitted from the revenue collected from the pool,” she told the Nation.

“The revenue collected has helped in renovating 8 classes so far.”

The residents are also questioning the Sh9,580,000 expenditure at Top Gear Driving School.

The money was paid to the driving school for the young people of Embakasi West to undergo driving training.

It is not clear just how many people might have benefitted from the driving classes.

Currently, lessons to driver a Class B vehicle (car) at Top Gear costs approximately Sh20, 000 per person.

With Sh9,580,000 and each student paying Sh20,000, the school should have trained close to 480 students.

However, no list of students who attended the training was presented to Mr Ouko’s team for audit.

Efforts by Nation to reach Mr Theuri, proved futile with all calls and text messages going unanswered.

Source:nairobinews

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Lifestyle

Sofapaka striker retires at just 32

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Sofapaka FC striker Ronald Okoth has parted ways with the club and effectively retired from the game at just the age of 32.

“I would like to take this opportunity to announce that we have mutually parted ways with Sofapaka FC at the expiry of my contract and also, announce my official retirement from professional football,” a statement posted on his official social media accounts reads partly.

“I want to sincerely thank the entire Sofapaka Football Club family from the President Elly Kalekwa, the whole executive board, the Head Coach John Baraza and his entire able technical bench, backroom staff together with all my fellow teammates for the amazing time we shared as a family and not just as a football club. Playing for this great club with a professional management setting and big ambitions has been without a doubt one of my proudest achievements.”

Okoth now shifts focus to talent management and placement under his RO Sports label.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to announce my retirement from professional football as I embark upon a new an exciting chapter in my life. As the founder and CEO of RO Sports and RO Sports Soccer Academy – also as an Information Manager having graduated from Kenya Methodist University with a Bachelor of Science in Information Science degree, other exciting and ambitious challenges wait ahead,” the statement continues.

“At 32 years of age and with other things on the side going on, I have felt that indeed this is the right moment to call off my career on a high after 13 good years of actively chasing a career in football both in the lower leagues and at the top level locally. It’s a new chapter for me filled with immense pride, emotions but most of all excitement for the future,” it adds.

In the 13 years, Ronald Okoth has played for Siaya Rangers, Salem Sportif, Jericho AllStars, Congo United, KEMU FC, Gor Mahia, Mahakama FC, Nairobi Stima, Western Stima, Mathare United, KCB FC and Sofapaka.

By NN

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CS Balala revokes blogger from Tourism board over statement on Nairobi National Park

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Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has revoked Pauline Njoroge’s appointment as a member of the Tourism Regulatory Authority board with immediate effect.

In a statement on Saturday, CS Balala said she had been replaced with Standard Group journalist Najma Ismail.

He explained that the ministry had just learned of her past remarks about the Nairobi National Park and could not associate itself with her.

For Ms Njoroge, the appointment was a case of so-near-yet-so-far as it was cancelled 24 hours after gazettement.

In the old, undated post that resurfaced on social media, Ms Njoroge called for the land the park sits on to be put to “better and more profitable use”.

“INTEGRITY”

The remark returned to haunt her, proving once again that the internet never forgets.

“… we have just seen what she tweeted in the past, that Nairobi National Park was useless. We do not want to be associated with such people and such thinking,” CS Balala said.

“The integrity of the park is very important and the government is committed to saving it and any other protected area which is the habitat for our national heritage – wildlife.”

CS Balala regretted that the ministry did not know about Ms Njoroge’s view, as it did not come during her background check, and thanked members of the public who used social media to highlight the issue.

NJOROGE’S VIEW

Ms Njoroge is a Digital Media Strategist and Communication Officer at the NEPAD/APRM Kenya Secretariat under the State Department for Planning.

In her post, she questioned the sense in sustaining the park given that Nairobi is congested.

Below is a screengrab of what she wrote.

Njoroge

REACTIONS

As soon as the Kenya Gazette with numerous parastatal appointments was published on Friday, Kenyans took to social media to highlight Ms Njoroge’s post.

She and many others landed three-year appointment to plum parastatal board positions.

Among them were Kanu Secretary-General Nick Salat, former Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission CEO Halakhe Waqo, former assistant minister Kilemi Mwiria, former vice-president Kalonzo Musyoka’s son Kevin Muasy and former Nairobi Speaker Alex ole Magelo.

On Saturday, some members of the public opposed Ms Njoroge’s appointment while others opposed its revocation.

Via Twitter, one ‘Lord Abraham Mutai’ said, “This is just sad. Denying Pauline Njoroge a chance to serve Kenyans based on what she said a few months ago is unacceptable. People have opinions on diverse issues and people should be allowed to change their minds. This is just making decisions based on emotions.”

Joyline Chebet said it would be ironical to appoint to the board someone who does not believe in tourism.

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16 die as plane crashes moments before take off

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BY KEVIN KOECH

A plane carrying 190 people skidded off a runway and crashed, breaking into two pieces after landing at Calicut airport in the southern state of Kerala in India.

The Boeing 737, en route from Dubai, was reportedly repatriating Indians who were stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city following the outbreak of coronavirus.

According to reports by BBC, at least 16 people were confirmed dead by aviation officials as of Friday, August 7, night, when the crash occurred.

Rescue operation and evacuation mission began in earnest and latest reports indicate the process was completed by midnight and survivors were taken to hospitals in Calicut and Malappuram in India.

Tens of passengers of sustained injuries with aviation officials confirming 15 of them were in critical condition. Air India Express said the two pilots were among those who died.

The ill-fated aircraft crashed on its second attempt to land at the airport after the first attempt was aborted by the pilots due to heavy monsoon-season rainfall lashing Kerala.

“The aircraft overshot the runway in rainy conditions”, then plunged down a 35ft (10.6m) slope, before breaking in two,” said India’s Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri.

Indian President Narendra Modi said he was pained by the devastating news of the crash and condoled with families of those who lost their loved ones.

Modi also wished a quicked recovery to the injured.

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