US Congress to probe Sh43 billion military arms deal with Kenya
The Kenyan Government plans to use the military aircraft in the war on the Al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia.
North Carolina Republican Congressman Ted Budd and four of his colleagues tabled a motion seeking to halt the purchase of 12 Air Tractor aircrafts with weapons and related support including two AT-504 trainer aircraft to the Kenyan Government because the contract was “inflated”, saying the cost was doubled.
The Kenyan Government plans to use the military aircraft which already the US Government through the State Department last month approved in the war on the Al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia.
The matter has now been referred to the US Congress House Committee on Foreign relations.
In a letter to Kenyan Ambassador to the US Robinson Githae, the congressmen said they had a “reason to question the acquisition” as the $418 million (Sh41.8 billion) cost should have been much less, by more than $200 (Sh20 billion).
In a statement, Congressman Budd said that his office has received credible allegations of faulty contracting practices, fraud, and unfair treatment surrounding this sale.
“Given that this proposed contract was decided without competition, to a company that has no experience or track record producing this kind of aircraft, and for a price that is more than double what a contractor in our district has quoted, further investigation is definitely in order,” Budd said.
He said the resolution he introduced would halt the sale, and give the Congress time to look into these troubling allegations.
“We need to ensure that Kenya, a longtime ally, is getting a fair deal, and that veteran-owned small businesses in our state aren’t getting shut out of competition because of government favoritism towards giant contractors,” the Congressman’s statement read in part.
US Embassy reply
However, the US Embassy in Kenya defended noting that the public discussion around the potential purchase of the aircrafts underscored the transparency and accountability of the U.S. Government’s “Foreign Military Sales” program.
“The process underway is transparent, open, and proper. This potential military sale would be carried out wholly in keeping with appropriate laws and regulations,” a statement from the Embassy read.
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