Kisumu is the third largest city in Kenya after Nairobi and Mombasa. Like the two other cities, Kisumu has over the years seen the mushrooming of world class shopping malls. In this article, WoK takes you inside the Ksh 4.1 billion Lake Basin Mall in Kisumu that is owned by Lake Basin Development Authority.
Lake Basin Mall is a state of the art mall strategically located in Mamboleo at the junction of the Northern Bypass and the Kisumu-Kakamega highway just 3.5 kilometers from Kisumu Central Business District (CBD). The mall sits on a 8 acre piece of land and covers 45,784 square meters. It hosts a 43 room three star hotel, a showroom and a tyre center.
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There is a 60,000 square feet space for the anchor tenant, approximately 350 car parking spaces, frameless glass shop fronts, 4 escalators, 2 panoramic lifts, a modern food court, a recreational park and a children’s playground. It has a regional resource center, more than 1,000 housing units and a complex that consists of three office blocks which serves as headquarters of Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA). The mall was commissioned in 2013 and completed in 2016 by Symbion International at a cost of Ksh 4.1 billion.
Lake Basin Mall is fully owned by the Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA), a government agency established in 1979 by an Act of Parliament. It was tasked with coordinating the implementation of development projects in the Lake Victoria catchment area. During a past interview, LBDA Managing Director Raymond Omollo explained why they decided to build the mall.
“Once it is fully operational, the shopping mall is projected to raise Ksh 220 million every year. The mall is meant to encourage local investment, but foreign investors are also welcome. More than 500 jobs can be created, and this can ease unemployment and help grow the region’s economy and that’s why we built the mall,” he said.
In 2018, reports emerged that LBDA engaged in corrupt dealings which saw the mall’s budget exceed Ksh 1.6 billion. It was alleged that the cost of the mall had been inflated from an initial figure of Ksh 2.5 billion to Ksh 4.1 billion in violation of the procurement laws and the Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act.
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The scandal saw several individuals charged with conspiracy to defraud, wilful failure to comply with procurement law, abuse of office and failure to disclose interest among other charges. However, the Managing Director of LBDA, came out to say that the price wasn’t inflated by even a cent.
“The investigation is on-going, and it would be prejudicial to discuss it. The project was cleared as value for money by a team from the State Department of Public Works. The project’s final count was Ksh 4,138,895,104.89,” said Dr. Omollo.
On November 2021, the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji withdrew charges against the ten accused persons in the Ksh 4.1 billion Lake Basin mall scam case due to lack of evidence.