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Kenya Railways orders SGR to punish tainted staff

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By DAVID MWERE
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Kenya Railways Corporation has directed China Road and Bridge Corporation, the operator of Madaraka Express, to take action against employees found to have interfered with ticketing.

The action comes after the Nation published a story detailing a multimillion-shilling ticketing fraud at the Mombasa-Nairobi passenger train service.

The complex web, according to the article, involves insiders skimming off a significant portion of revenue generated from every trip, with indications that Sh1 million is lost daily.

The corporation’s acting MD Philip Mainga on Sunday said police were investigating the scandal.

He directed CRBC to ensure the investigation does not interfere with the passenger service.

“The corporation is aware of the investigations and we are cooperating with authorities to ensure the SGR ticketing is secure and maintained,” Mr Mainga said as he allayed “any unfounded fears surrounding the future and integrity of ticketing.”

He added that the loss of funds could have “presumably affected passengers who purchased tickets from elsewhere and not the officially recognised channels”.

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“The corporation has lent support to the investigators who are still undertaking a forensic audit to ascertain the true position of the system,” he said.

Three top Chinese staff have been arrested after an attempt to bribe Directorate of Criminal Investigations officers failed. They are expected in court on Monday.

The scandal, unearthed by the corporation’s workers monitoring the Chinese operator, is the latest to hit the Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway.

The railway was built by the operator at Sh247 billion, largely in loans from Chinese Government.

CRBC is reportedly paid Sh1 billion every month to run the service, on top of the loan the government pays.

The scam involves manipulating the complex booking system to split ticketing revenues between the railway operator and insiders.

It has also been discovered that refunds are created for tickets already issued to passengers on board the train and channelled elsewhere.

Detectives from the DCI are also investigating the advance booking system as another area of diverting cash.

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