Expansion of fisheries complex in Kenya advances despite corruption allegations
Kenya’s Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy recently picked local seafood processor and exporter CEER Processing Limited as the preferred contractor to develop the delayed Liwatoni Fisheries Complex in the coastal city of Mombasa.
The project has been marred by graft allegations from Kenya’s Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), which launched investigations into claims of procurement law violations during the award of the initial tender, which has since been revoked. The project was initially allocated KES 1.8 billion (EUR 14.6 million, USD 15 million) in the 2021-2022 financial year to modernize the fishing port, including the installation of cold storage, value-added processing capabilities, and export infrastructure.
A Kenyan firm, CEER Processing Limited, edged out six other bidders in the tendering process to and said it hopes to have the facility fully online by October 2022, The Standard Media reported.
Previously, Kenya's Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Blue Economy was accused of violating government procurement regulations by using the International Federation of Consulting Engineers’ tender documents to award the tender, instead of the standard tender documents prepared by the state-owned Public Procurement Regulatory Authority.
The department’s procurement evaluation committee was also accused of failing to carry out proper evaluations of the previous canceled tender, in accordance with Kenya’s Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act.
The committee, according to a previous report, “recommended the award of the tender to an unresponsive bidder who also submitted false documents in its bid.”
As a result, the committee has recommended Kenya's director of public prosecution to pursue charges against senior officials at the Kenya Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Blue Economy for engaging in the flawed procurement process, which slowed down the completion of the of the project.
Kenya Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government Fred Matiang’i recently said on Twitter the “operationalization of the Liwatoni Fisheries Complex is abound with hitches, but a technical team is assessing the project and will submit their report to the cabinet with a view to resolving the challenges and position the facility as a key driver of Kenya's blue economy.”
CEER Processing Ltd. has won the bid to construct an additional cold storage facility at the site, and the park's jetty will be extended to accommodate additional fishing vessels.
The Kenya Fishing Industries Corporation, a state entity that is managing the Liwatoni Fisheries Complex, expects the new fishery hub to provide at least 800 direct jobs and the capacity to process and export 50 metric tons of frozen and fresh fish daily, including 25 metric tons of processed tuna.
Photo courtesy of Kenya’s Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy