A decade after its ordered purchase, one of Kenya’s controversial projects linked to the Anglo leasing scandal is expected to sail into the coast of Mombasa on August 27th 2012
Kenya Navy’s newest warship dubbed “KNS Jasiri” is to be commissioned by President Mwai Kibak upon its arrival. The navy ship project was among those exposed by former Governance and Ethics permanent secretary John Githongo.
Estimated at 4.6 Billion, the Department of Defense signed a deal with Euromarine on July 15, 2003 to build the ship at the Spanish shipyard, Astilleros Gondan. Payments for the contract were however, stopped in June 2005 after Mr Githongo blew the whistle on the suspicious financing deals. The supplier then sued the government for withholding payments for the vessel which was dubbed “Kenya’s Spanish Armada” by former British High Commissioner Edward Clay.
The arrival of “Jasiri” comes at a time when Kenya is channeling more funding into the Defense Ministry with Sh70 billion in this year’s budget. In April’s supplementary estimates submitted to Parliament, the Treasury had asked for an additional Sh12.5 billion “to meet increasing administration and planning expenses of the Kenya Defense Forces.”
Kenya has been on a state of high alert since the army crossed into Somalia on October 16 2011 to fight Al-Shabaab. Kenya’s Defense Forces and other troops under the African Union Mission in Somalia are planning an assault on Somali terror group Al-Shabaab’s stronghold of Kismayu. It is not clear if “KNS Jasiri” will play a role in the operations to remove Al-Shabaab from the port city.
Kenya has re-tooled its military over the past 10 years and is fighting its first ever war. Kenya’s overall military spending rose to Sh52.2 billion ($594 million) in 2010 from Sh47.5 billion ($580 million) in 2009.