MPs question value of President Kenyatta’s trip to China

PHOTO / POOL / HOW HWEE YOUNG President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping (R) attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on August 19, 2013.

What you need to know:

  • Majority Leader Aden Duale told MPs that on the trip to the Far East, President Kenyatta secured a grant, a loan and a concessional loan worth Sh16.02 billion
  • The Energy Committee has also questioned the circumstances under which a Chinese firm was promised rights to drill for geothermal power

Opposition MPs last evening questioned the value of the trip to China by President Uhuru Kenyatta in August as it emerged that the grants and loans from the Chinese to the Kenyan government amounted to Sh16.02 billion.

When he was on the trip, the President’s communication unit announced that Kenya signed agreements worth Sh425 billion — Sh340 billion for economic partnerships, wildlife protection and the standard gauge railway project and Sh85 billion for energy-related projects.

On Wednesday, Majority Leader Aden Duale told MPs that on the trip to the Far East, President Kenyatta secured a grant, a loan and a concessional loan worth Sh16.02 billion.

“There were huge investments that went between the Kenyan private sector and the financial institutions in China. There were many outgoing projects funded by many Chinese banks and the government but I want to confirm for you that the Jubilee government does not make a trip for Sh15 billion,” said Mr Duale.

“What was reported was what was of value to the Kenyan people; $5 billion. It’s not the Sh15 billion.”

PROMISED RIGHTS

Saying the deals would be brought to Parliament for approval, Mr Duale cited the construction of the railway line as an example of a project that would be funded under a Private-Public Partnership agreement.

This is the first time the value of the trip to China is being questioned in the National Assembly.

The Energy Committee has also questioned the circumstances under which a Chinese firm was promised rights to drill for geothermal power.

Of direct funds to the government, the first is a Sh1.42 billion grant, which will be used to fund a project to be agreed upon between the two governments’ finance ministers.

The second is an interest-free loan of Sh2.8 billion to be given within five years from September 1 and which will be used to fund technical and economic cooperation projects to be agreed upon between the two countries.

Reported by John Ngirachu, Caroline Wafula, Jeremiah Kiplangat

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