We can’t disclose SGR contract to media, China Ambassador says

China Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng has dismissed any possibility to disclose to the public the SGR contract President Uhuru promised five months ago in a television interview.

Ambassador Wu on Tuesday said, “I cannot say we agree or disagree with disclosure. I do not speak on behalf of Kenya. The obstacle to disclosing contract is commercial interest protected by rule of law, which should be respected.”

In an earlier interview with veteran journalist Macharia Gaitho, Wu had said there is no secret between the Chinese and Kenyan governments, and any loan agreements between the two countries are in line with international practice. “None of the Kenyan national assets has been mortgaged for the SGR loan and neither would any national asset be seized or controlled by China, even in a situation of default,” the envoy said.

But when asked whether he would provide a copy of the contract, after back and forth with Gaitho, he said he could not issue it because “according to international practice you (media/journalist) are not qualified to have this document”.

In prompting the President to share the contract with him, journalist Mark Masai of Nation Media Group had sought clarity amid suggestions the Government of Kenya had put up several public assets as a guarantee, including the port of Mombasa.

This was at a joint media interview in Mombasa last year.

In a U-turn in April, State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita said the government will not give the document.

“To the fact of the matter is that the contract will not be released to Mark Maasai. So he shouldn’t be expecting it. The President did not lie (when asked about releasing the contract). He was counseled by the Attorney General who has guided that only the organization with locus should request for an agreement that is signed by two institutions which are bound by confidentiality clauses and must go through the public audit process,” Waita said during an interview on KTN.

“The President is a human being and if he gave a commitment that cannot be followed through, it is not for the world to cry. His hands are tired by the law. Even if he wanted to give the contract to Mark, he can’t,” Waita added.

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