Kimaren Secondary School in Aldai constituency
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MPs on the spot over collapsing new classrooms despite CDF millions used

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Multiple angles of a building at Kimaren Secondary School in Aldai constituency, Nandi County, that was found to be structurally defective during an audit by a team of inspectors from the Public Works Ministry. The audit recommended the demolition of the structure that had been funded by the Constituency Development Fund.

Photo credit: Pool

When the National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) board released cash to all constituencies in the country on January 12, one constituency of the 290 was left out — Kimilili.

The National Treasury, in a letter to all Members of National Assembly and the National Assembly Speaker, said the exclusion of Kimilili was because of “governance issues currently being addressed by the NG-CDF board”.

What were these governance issues that were so grave as to stop disbursement of money for bursaries that other constituencies got even when they had not put all their papers in order?

The Saturday Nation understands that a big factor in the decision was an audit of classrooms constructed using CDF funds in Kimilili in the last five years. The investigation unearthed flaws in the quality of workmanship that puts learners at risk in various schools.

This started in September last year when the NG-CDF board, acting on complaints it had received, asked the Public Works ministry to inspect CDF-funded school building constructions in Kimilili and Aldai constituencies.

Following that request, a technical team comprising three structural engineers, two quantity surveyors and two architects alongside CDF board officials and representatives of the provincial administration visited 40 schools in the two constituencies between October 16 and November 3, 2023 — 37 in Kimilili and three in Aldai. Works in these schools are listed as having been implemented without the CDF board’s approval.

The technical team was tasked with establishing whether there had been diversion of funds, to gauge the structural soundness of the works and to quantify how much had been spent in putting them up.

They came out with structural analyses and photos of projects, some revealing shocking flaws. Classrooms completed just months earlier had leaking roofs, constructions in progress were found to have weak beams, staircases were found to be shaky, ceiling boards in supposedly new structures looked like they were about to descend, cracks were found on walls and the wood supporting roofs was found to be warped in some cases.

In a chastening indictment on the workmanship, the experts demanded that a structure so far erected at Kimaren Secondary School in Aldai be demolished.

They also singled out 10 schools in Kimilili where the structures being constructed or renovated needed rectification because a number of defects were identified. Works in two schools in Aldai were also found to need remedial measures to make them safe.

The experts also recommended that construction and repair works going on in two schools in Kimilili be stopped and the structures brought down.

“Construction of two classrooms of Lutonyi Primary School and renovation works of five classrooms in Chesamisi FYM Primary School were structurally unsound,” the team reported. “Both structures were condemned and recommended for demolition.”

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa and his Aldai counterpart Marianne Kitany did not immediately respond to our calls and messages on the matter.

Below are some of the schools where the investigation team found issues.

Daraja Mungu Primary School (Kimilili): M/s Johgeja Building & Construction Company was tasked with building a storeyed building with eight classrooms starting from May 2022 for Sh14 million. The inspection team found the structure done so far to be so wanting that it needs fixing before further works can proceed. One of the glaring problems is low-strength concrete.

“Construction works to be suspended until adequate measures are put in place,” the team said. It valued the work done so far at Sh6.70 million. Some Sh5 million has already been paid out, the inspection team noted, adding that Sh3.41 million will be required for making various fixes.

Kamusinde FYM Mixed Day and Boarding Primary School (Kimilili): Eight classrooms being constructed on a storeyed structure in a project that began in 2018, and which were being used by learners when the inspection teams visited, were found to have a number of issues, among them sagging beams and a vibrating staircase. The inspectors also photographed a crack on one of the beams. The contract sum was Sh18.32 million and the team assessed the sum spent on the project at Sh12.49 million. It recommended that fixes worth Sh1.48 million be done to make the building sound.

Kimaren Secondary School (Aldai): Photos of the project speak of a disaster waiting to happen. The project, which entailed construction of a storeyed structure, is marked as stalled. Taxpayers are set to lose money that went into the structure as the government team recommended total destruction of the structure.

“The building (is) a danger under its own self weight,” stated the inspectors.

Lutonyi Primary School in Kimilili, Bungoma County

Multiple angles of a building at Lutonyi Primary School in Kimilili, Bungoma County that has been condemned to be demolished.

Photo credit: Pool

Interestingly, the team did not find details of when the project commenced, which contractor was executing it, the contract sum, the architectural drawings, among other vital details that a public project ought to have.

Lutonyi Primary School (Kimilili): Taxpayers will lose the more than Sh2 million that went into the construction of two classrooms at the school as the inspection team recommended that the entire structure be torn down.

“There are honeycombs, inadequate concrete cover leading to exposed rebars, columns with tapering sizes and some twisted columns, and poor workmanship,” wrote the inspectors.

Photos show brick structures with shockingly basic installations that read “shoddy” from whichever angle one looks at it. The contract sum was Sh2.33 million and Sh1.5 million has already been paid out, with the team valuing the work done so far at Sh2.31 million.

Bituyu Primary School (Kimilili): Construction of eight classrooms began in May 2022, being handled by M/S Musa Ambani Building & Constructions for a contract sum of Sh14 million.

The contractor has already been paid Sh5 million. Photos of the site show that only the ground floor structures have been completed, with the team assessing the value of the work done so far at Sh6.67 million. The team took issue with the vibrating slab, lack of structural drawings and inadequate reinforcement steel.

“Inspections and tests done on the structural elements indicated that the structure is unsound,” said the team, which valued the work done so far at Sh6.67 million. It noted that Sh1.58 million is needed to make right the various problems identified.

Kamukuywa ACK Primary School (Kimilili): M/s Mems Distributors Limited was tasked with constructing 18 classrooms starting from January 2021 at the cost of Sh33.76 million. The inspection team found that 16 classrooms instead of 18 were put up. There was a further indictment: “Inspections and tests done on the structural elements indicated that the structure is unsound.”

The team recommended that the works done so far, which they assessed at Sh27.79 million, be suspended until the recommended fixes are carried out. The value of repairs needed, the team said, is Sh3.08 million. The contractor has already been paid Sh26.75 million.

Sikhendu Primary School (Kimilili): Construction of eight classrooms on a storeyed building began in May 2021 for a contract sum of Sh14.2 million — of which Sh13 million has already been paid to the contractor.

The inspection team found the structure erected so far to be structurally unsound. It had dilapidated floor and staircase finishes, cracks on some slabs, sagging slabs, among other issues. Some Sh1.57 million will have to be spent on rectifying the existing faults.

St Peter’s Chepkongony Primary School (Aldai): The inspection team did not find any information regarding the contractor and the project sum.

However, photos of the structures erected so far show that the structures made can use improvement. The inspection team found the usage of substandard concrete. There were no architectural drawings showing the blueprint of the project either.

The inspectors recommended that one side of the structure be torn down “and structurally reconstructed whilst the other portion is to be structurally retrofitted (repaired) as per the engineer’s design and specifications”. The team estimated the cost of rectifying the mistakes at Sh1.97 million.

Buko RC Secondary School (Kimilili): The construction of a twin lab, which had reached slab level, will have to be started afresh after the inspection team found the slab to be too thin and done without the use of a British Reinforcement Concrete mesh.

“Visual inspection of the cast slab indicated the slab thickness is too thin, hence not sound,” the team stated.

The project was being undertaken by M/S Ramastart Builders and General Suppliers, though the commencement date was not available. The contract sum was Sh10.14 million – of which Sh1.43 million has been paid – and the inspectors estimated that the sum spent so far is Sh1.40 million.

Namawanga DEB Primary School (Kimilili): M/S Gari Hills Enterprise Ltd was handling the construction of eight classrooms in a project that began in February 2021. The contract sum was Sh15.00 million, and Sh8.88 million has been paid to the contractor.

The classes are complete, though finishing has not been done. The inspectors found a problem with its slabs, which it found to have vibrations. There were cracks on windows, warping timber trusses, a failing ramp, among other shortcomings.

The team valued the work done at Sh9.45 million, and recommended the spending of a further Sh1.15 million in the fixing of the identified flaws.