Supplier sues agency over Sh35m debt
The battle between the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and its fresh water suppliers is now in the High Court in Mombasa after one of them sued the State corporation for breach of contract.
KPA has refused to pay millions of shillings owed to some fresh water suppliers after an internal audit allegedly unearthed several discrepancies, including what was described as fraudulent, inflated and fictitious water deliveries.
The audit alleged that KPA lost about Sh35 million through fictitious and fraudulent delivery of fresh water to several departments at the Mombasa port between July 2017 and June 2018.
Now one of the firms, T/A Mombasa Fresh Water Suppliers, has sued KPA, demanding Sh35,178,030 it claims the authority owes it out of an initial debt of Sh37,504,830. The firm claimed that KPA reneged on the payment of the debt although it supplied the water and despite a binding 12-month contract signed between the parties on April 1, 2017.
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In an affidavit, Peterson Mittau – a director in the firm – claimed the company entered into a contract with KPA in 2017 and supplied water worth Sh37,504,830. He claimed that after supplying the water, his company was only paid Sh2.3 million.
“…despite a demand notice being issued to the defendant (KPA), the defendant has neglected and/or refused to pay the outstanding balance to the plaintiff,” Mr Mittau said.
David King’ori Muthoni, also a director of the firm, said KPA had refused to pay the balance but admitted that for some time KPA had paid its bills to the firm for water supplies without issuing a local purchase order (LPO).
He said that early last year the firm approached the port’s managing director to be issued with LPO’s for past deliveries, but this was not done.
A third director, Samson Karisa Menza, in an affidavit insisted that KPA had not paid Sh35,504,830 despite receiving fresh water from the firm even without LPOs. But KPA’s lawyer, Addraya Dena, denied most of the claims. However, he admitted that T/A Mombasa Fresh Water Suppliers was prequalified to supply fresh water when the need arose.
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