Dams saga vehicles battle gets complex

What you need to know:

  • Benisa Limited wants to auction the trucks to recover Sh30 million it claims it is owed in botched Itare dam deal.

  • Benisa is part of a network of companies Mr Kubai and his family have been accused of using to secure double payment for the same work, and in some instances no work done.

Benisa Limited, the firm at the centre of two separate investigations into ghost projects in Murang’a and Marsabit counties, has now laid claim to 12 vehicles that are at the centre of the Sh41.5 billion dams saga, as it seeks to auction them to recover debts from a botched deal with collapsed CMC Di Ravenna.

SH360 MILLION

The bankrupt CMC Di Ravenna hired Benisa on May 15, 2015 as a subcontractor to do a number of works on the Itare dam project for Sh360 million.

But the Italian firm accused Benisa of deploying inadequate staff and resources on site and terminated the contract on June 22, last year. Benisa claimed Sh30 million for the work it had done, and sued the Italian firm on May 7, 2019.

On August 6, 2019, auctioneers hired by Benisa Limited towed the 12 vehicles from CMC Di Ravenna’s offices and threatened to sell them if the debt is not settled. The auctioneers have valued each of the pickup trucks at Sh3 million.

Anfield Auctioneers initially proclaimed 30 vehicles that CMC had bought for the Itare, Arror and Kimwarer dam projects but eventually put up 12 for auction.

The vehicles are registered to CMC Di Ravenna but are at the heart of a vicious battle between the Italian firm, Barclays Bank and the DCI.

DOUBLE PAYMENT

Barclays earlier planned to attach nearly 70 cars and equipment bought by CMC Di Ravenna, arguing that the Italian contractor used the vehicles as security for a Sh500 million loan.

Documents at the Companies’ Registry show that Benisa is owned by Mr Peter Macharia Kubai (50 per cent), Ms Isabellah Wairimu Kubai (25 per cent) and Mr Jadiel Macharia Kubai.

Benisa is at the centre of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) probe into Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria’s alleged violation of the public procurement law.

Benisa is part of a network of companies Mr Kubai and his family have been accused of using to secure double payment for the same work, and in some instances no work done.

Alongside Benoni Limited, Benisa is also being investigated for allegedly giving kickbacks to Mr Wa Iria to secure lucrative road repair tenders.

ROCK BLASTING

EACC has also stumbled onto Benisa Limited while investigating the stalled Marsabit Stadium, where the firm has been paid Sh88 million with only 20 per cent of the work done.

On July 30, 2019 Benisa Limited obtained a default judgment in a suit it filed against CMC Di Ravenna to recover Sh31.5 million for rock blasting works it did in the Itare dam project, which has also collapsed and is at the centre of a Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) probe.

The High Court issued the judgment after CMC Di Ravenna failed to respond to a suit seeking to attach the bankrupt Italian firm’s assets to recover money owed from the rock blasting contract.

CMC Di Ravenna has asked the High Court to reject the auction on grounds that there is an order barring attachment of its assets.

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