A former aide of Raila Odinga Thursday told Parliament how Deputy President William Ruto edged him out of a lucrative deal to upgrade the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret together with a Chinese firm.
Herbert Ocholla Ojwang, a Nairobi based businessman, said Mr Ruto through his aide Caleb Kositany put pressure to drop his dealing with China Wu Yi and China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), which he had helped secure a Sh17 billion deal to upgrade the referral hospital.
Mr Ocholla also sucked in Kericho Senator Charles Keter whom he claimed had agreed to help him stay on the project but on condition that he parts with 50 per cent of his commission. He was to get five per cent of the total project cost for securing the business to the Chinese.
Mr Ocholla said the project was for upgrading existing hospital and facilities, not building of a new hospital.
“I was to get five per cent (Sh850 million) of the Sh17 billion project as commission. I was to oversee the total implementation of the project,” he said.
Mr Ocholla disclosed that the deal has since been shelved and an expression of interest notice issued by the Ministry of Health that would see a new referral hospital built at a cost of Sh28 billion on a 200-acre land in Eldoret belonging to the Prisons Department.
He said trouble started a week after the hospital chief executive John Kibosia, representatives of the Chinese firms and himself went to brief the Deputy President on the project.
“Only a week after visiting Ruto’s offices, another meeting was called in the offices of China Wu Yi which was attended by Caleb Kositany, Kibosia and myself,” said Mr Ocholla.
“I was told that the Deputy President has given instructions that I surrender the agreement document signed between me and the Chinese companies to Caleb.”
He added: “I refused to do so until I consult my lawyers and not until China Wu Yi and CMEC writes to me officially withdrawing the agreement and specific reasons for their actions.”
He played video and audio tapes in the absence of the media. Mr Ocholla alleged that new hospital would be built using the upgrade designs.
Mr Ocholla said he helped the Chinese firms clinch a memorandum of understanding and an agreement with MTRH to design the upgrade project and funding of the same.
He told PIC that he decided to seek intervention of Parliament after the Ministry of Health advertised the project for a new referral despite existence on an upgrade pact.
He said China Wu Yi entered into the contract with the referral hospital to pull down three old buildings in the facility while CMEC were to provide funding which they secured through Exim Bank of China.
“I approached the hospital and signed a MoU that I would bring them investors to upgrade the hospital,” he said. “They agreed and proceeded to sign contract for designs and financing with my clients, the Chinese firms.”
He said the upgrade was for the construction of a 12-storey ultra-modern building with 1,000 bed capacity.
“Somebody may say why I am doing this. I was looking for business opportunities for Chinese companies which have been doing business in Kenya.
“Looking at corruption rate in Kenya, the original figure of the upgrade was Sh17 billion but it has now been pushed to Sh28 billion.
“It should be noted that the original drawing remains the same. The difference will go into somebody’s pocket. I don’t know who,” he said.