It argues that as part of the American firm’s proposal, an advance payment of $300 million (Sh30 billion) and also a payment of $100 million (Sh10 billion) as ‘establishment fee’ will be required. “So Bechtel will be given $400 million (Sh40 billion) in funds and highly cash positive before the start of the project whereby the Government of Kenya will be paying interest on this sum from day one as this will be drawn immediately by Bechtel at contract signing,” the brief notes.

There is also a further $60 million (Sh6 billion) of design management fees. The proposal from the American firm excluded all relevant taxes. The Government is pushing for the deal on grounds that the US firm is one of the biggest construction companies in America and that this should give Kenyans comfort.

Since the firm will also be seeking financing on its own, it also takes away the initial headache of having to source for financing. But what the government is not saying is that Kenyans will eventually pay a premium price for it in one way or another.

Bechtel is also not free from controversies in overseas countries where it has operated. For example, it is fighting some bribery allegations in a Saudi Arabia family feud, which is now in court.

There were other allegations on using middlemen named in British courts to win a contract in Abu Dhabi to build a petrochemicals plant. A former vice president of the firm was also sentenced to 42 months in prison for accepting Sh520 million in kickbacks to manipulate the competitive bidding process for the State run power contracts in Egypt.

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