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Why Ngong Sports Complex is a pipe dream

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JEFF KINYANJUI

By JEFF KINYANJUI
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In 2015, under much fanfare, former Kajiado County Governor David Nkedienye officially broke ground for work that was to transform Ngong Stadium in Kajiado County into an ultra-modern sports facility that would be called Ngong Sports Complex. The envisaged modern edifice was to be built in four phases and completed by June this year.

The complex was to have a modern football pitch, several swimming pools, athletics track, volleyball court among other facilities.

Ngong Stadium in this picture taken on September 11, 2019. Construction work to transform the venue into a modern sports complex stalled in 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Ngong Stadium in this picture taken on September 11, 2019. Construction work to transform the venue into a modern sports complex stalled in 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“This is a flagship project that will help our sportsmen and women perfect their talents in rugby, football, athletics, volleyball, swimming and many other field — this will improve our performance as a county in sports.

This will also benefit the county government because many athletes will train here,” said Nkedienye during the ground breaking ceremony in 2015.

He also stated: “Some people are grabbing land and have put boundary markers in the stadium. Forget that because my government will not allow people to take public land because my government will not allow people to take public land — where will our children play.”

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Since then, the County Government of Kajiado has spent Sh37,287,474 on the project but there is nothing in to show for it other than a half done fence and several unfinished terraces. The project stalled in 2017 allegedly due to misunderstanding between the county and the contractor, York Investments (EA) Limited.

The Auditor General report of the 2017/18 financial year even raised concerns over the state of the project.

“The County Government of Kajiado contracted York Investments (EA) Limited to construct a modern sports complex in Ngong Town for Sh198,464940 under the Department of Education, Youth, Sports, Culture and Social Services.

The project was scheduled to be undertaken in four phases for consecutive four financial years from 2014/2015 to 2017/2018 or four months from the date of agreement.

The agreement was signed on 6 July 2015 implying expected completion date of 5 July 2019. It therefore follows that at minimum, 25 percent of the project should be achieved every financial year for the four years under consideration.

Consequently, the project ought to have been at 50 percent completion by 30 June 2017. However, records presented for audit review revealed that as at 21 June 2016, only Sh34,387,473 had been absorbed as per interim certificate number 1 indicating 17% completion,” the report reads.

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“In the year under review, no works were carried out implying either the project had been abandoned or works had stalled with physical verification confirming the same.

That notwithstanding, a payment of Sh3 million was made to the architects, Abbey Architects Ltd, for consultancy services in respect of the project on 11 May 2017 despite the fact that no works had been carried out during the year.

“In addition, no fee notes, invoice, authority or any other documentary evidence has been presented for audit verification in support of this payment. In the circumstances, I cannot confirm that the public got value for the total amount of Sh37,387,474 spent so far on the project.

“Further, there may be costs overruns in the event that the project is not delivered in time and other associated costs including interest and penalties, loss of value by delaying the accruing benefits to the tax payers and possible litigations arising from breach of contract,” the report further states.

Late last year, Kajiado County Deputy Governor Martin Moshisho announced the construction of the stadium would resume and in February this year, Alvin Kimani, then the County Executive in charge of Youth and Sports, also announced the facility would be complete by May.

However, nothing happened and the stadium remains an eyesore of an abandoned construction site, and the security person in charge of the facility told Nation Sport that barely does a day pass without him having to deal with thieves trying to steal raw materials from the site.

In July this year, Governor Joseph ole Lenku was grilled by the Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee (PAIC) on the fate of some stalled projects in Kajiado County including the stadium.

The committee was particularly keen to understand why Abbey Architects Ltd were paid over Sh3 million for work that was not certified.

Ngong Stadium sits on prime 17 acres of land and ideally would be home to a number of local football teams; Ngong Rangers, Hillside, Atomic FC, Wazee FC, Black Burners, Citam FC as well as rugby side Ngong Morans and the many Kenyan athletes who train there due to the high altitude.

Mbiriri Mwaura, a community youth leader in Ngong Ward, claims that some private developers have encroached on part of the stadium land.

“As the youth in this area we feel neglected. This facility would have changed the lives of the people in this ward but it has remained neglected for over four years now,” he said.

“The Ngong Holding Market has already been put in what is stadium land and while the many sports teams have now been forced to relocate to the adjacent training ground that is still part of stadium land, that too is under threat with private developers already trying to fence it and setting land beacons.

“We have the Part Development Plan (PDP) from the Ministry of Land and we know this is public land meant for the Ngong Sports Complex but the county of Kajiado hasn’t been helpful so far despite the many public participation meetings we have attended,” he lamented.

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