China calls for fair probe into bribery claims at SGR Mombasa

What you need to know:

  • Li Gen, Li Xiaowu and Sun Xin are charged with jointly offering a Sh500,000 bribe to an inspector for favour in an investigation.
  • The embassy says it fully respects Kenyan laws and always requires Chinese institutions, companies and individuals in the country to strictly comply with them.

The Chinese Embassy in Kenya has sent its officers to check on three nationals charged with bribery at a Mombasa court.

Li Gen, Li Xiaowu and Sun Xin are charged with jointly offering a Sh500,000 bribe to an inspector for favour in an investigation on claims of fraud at the standard gauge railway terminus in Miritini.

LEGAL RIGHTS

In a statement to newsrooms on Monday, the embassy said it hopes Kenyan authorities protect the legal rights and interests of the employees of the China Roads and Bridges Corporation.

According to the charge sheets, the three offered the money to inspector Andrew Warui and his team.

The accused faced two other counts of offering a Sh200,000 bribe. 

“It is our hope that the truth will be found out as soon as possible through objective and fair investigations,” the embassy said.

It added that it fully respects Kenyan laws and always requires Chinese institutions, companies and individuals in the country to strictly comply with them.

“The embassy has urged the Africa Star Railway Operation Company to actively cooperate with Kenyan authorities in investigating [the matter].  The company has also been required to take effective measures to enhance its management and ensure operation in conformance with laws and regulations,” the statement said.

“As always, the embassy will render full support to the SGR operation team to provide high standard services.”

The accused were arrested last week by detectives of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission on claims that they attempted to bribe officers of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

The DCI is looking into reports of manipulation in ticketing, that is said to be part of a multi-million-shilling ticketing fraud, in the case over which four Kenyans were also arrested. The Kenyans are also employees of the CRBC.

FULL COOPERATION

In a statement on Monday, Africa Star said it has been actively cooperating with police in investigations on whether SGR employees have illegally collected refunds for 15 passenger tickets.

The company said it immediately launched an internal investigation after learning of the case and took steps to strengthen management and control.

The organisation also reported that it suspended the accused employees and requested them to fully cooperate with authorities.

"Once it is confirmed that there was any violation of local laws and regulations, our company will support Kenyan authorities in punishing [the offenders] according to laws and regulations," the statement stated.

Africa Star noted that since the Mombasa-Nairobi operations began on May 30, 2017, it has fully guaranteed safety and efficiency and contributed to the process of Kenya's social and economic development.

"Our company actively promotes the localisation process, accelerates technology transfer and trains local employees. The proportion of local employees has reached 76 percent. Up to now, the SGR has transported more than two million passengers and has achieved [the operation of] a record 28 freight trains in a single day," it said.

It added, "We always abide by Kenyan laws and regulations and attach high importance to integrity and compliance. We will continue to uphold the company's concept of integrity, respect, mutual assistance and inclusiveness and do a good job in SGR operations, with dedication and resolution."

Africa Star, however, welcomed suggestions for improvement.

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