The managers insisted the contractor was advised by the firm’s managing director Fernandes Barasa to keep the equipment and staff on the ground as the wayleave dispute was being settled, resulting in the heavy compensation bill.

“The keeping of teams is based on a request by Ketraco MD as the wayleave issue was being pursued by both the management and the ministry of Energy and Petroleum,” reads the management response.

There were also allegations that the contractor incited the locals whose lands were acquired to put up the power line to disrupt the construction and trigger the plum paybacks.

In the compensation claims, the contractor demanded Sh44 million just for keeping its head office running during the 21 months that the project had stalled.

The auditors found no justification on how this cost was incurred.

Such delays were also blamed for the heightened compensation made to landowners affected by the project as they claimed appreciation, compared their deals with other people in different locations and raised land values through putting up of structures.

Others simply subdivided the plots into multiple pieces, with the Kisii-Awendo line said to have suffered heaviest from this scheme.

The land acquired for the project miraculously multiplied to 699 more parcels, driving up the cost to Sh347.4 million from Sh128.8 million earlier envisioned.

In the wayleave cartel game plan, people affected by the projects would go to court where they would get Ketraco compelled to deposit an amount of money with an appointed advocate pending final determination of the case.

It remains unclear how the same people were again paid full notwithstanding the earlier deposits.

“In a similar situation against Christopher Mbaka Oisebe & Phyllis Nyanchama Mbaka (Kisii — Awendo line), Ketraco deposited Sh1.8 million into the account of Ms Wairegi Getetua & Associates and later failed to offset the same, and instead made the full payment of Sh8.9 million agreed upon with the project Affected Persons (PAP) resulting into an overpayment of Sh1.8 million which should be recovered from the PAP or advocate.

“This recovery has been outstanding since October 2016,” the auditors noted.

A road contractor who did not wish to be quoted for fear of industry victimisation said such project delay tactics were common in huge infrastructure projects.

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