In November 2018, three Chinese nationals were charged with attempting to bribe investigators working on a ticketing scam at Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) form Africa Star Railway Operation Company Limited (Afristar)
It was alleged that some Sh1 million a day was being stolen in the scheme.
The three Chinese criminals, Li Gen, head of transport, Li Xiaowu, security manager, and Sun Xin, staff member, offered DCI officers.Sh500,000 bribe to stop release them without charges.
The SGR, a Sh500 billion white elephant, is operated lime it is in Beijing with scandals everywhere since it launch on May 2017.
Afristar is a company under China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).
The ticketing Scandal described below by a local media house has now forced the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) to take over the handling of tickets, fuelling and security from Afristar.
The ticketing scandal
According to an insider, one aspect of the the ticketing theft scheme involved (still involves) creating refunds for tickets already issued to passengers on board for each of the four trips and channelling the refunds elsewhere.
Kenya Railways officials are said to have raised the red flag over an unusually high number of refunds, triggering an investigation that is likely to unearth millions of shillings in lost revenue since President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the service on June 1, 2017.
Intense monitoring revealed that the passengers who had allegedly been refunded were indeed inside the train ready to travel.
It is not clear how long the fraud had been run but well-placed sources within the ticketing docket said there are indications of up to Sh1 million per day on all trips having been stolen.
In 2020, Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto wrote to govt to end the lopsided contract between KRC and Afristar which he describe as having no value to Kenyans.
“Given that we have already committed our country to repaying the Chinese loans extended to fund the construction of the railway, there is no need to keep the country ensnared in an abusive marriage where Kenyans are collectively and continuously fleeced in a bad deal entered years gone by. Taking steps to tame the greed shown by the Africa Star Railways, the operator of the SGR business, can only be described as noble considering that the Chinese firm has had little regard for Kenya’s interest in the project undertaken by its parent firm, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).” Kennedy Ogeto wrote.
The contract between KRC and Afristar is supposed to be reviewed in 2022 abs as things go, it seems KRC has decided to take it over henceforth.
We just hope that it’ll be managed well without scandals of delays, dilapidated infrastructure, Nepotism and looting.
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