Residents call for investigations into Sh152 million 'ghost' water project

Over 3000 residents of Akithi and Athwana wards during demonstrations over the Sh152M Kiingirwa Water Project. [Olivia Murithi, Standard]
Hundreds of residents of Athwana and Akithi wards in Meru took to the streets to protest what they termed a "ghost water project."

The residents want the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate the Sh152 million Kiingirwa Water Project, saying although it is considered complete, they are yet to get a single drop of water from it.

They claimed the water project was started in the late 1990s by the National Irrigation Board (NIB).

Other than the Sh152 million, the project further received a Sh1.7 million allocation from the Constituency Development Fund in the 2006/2007 financial year, and another Sh3.5 million allocation in the 2013/2014 one.

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The Sh3.5 million was later reallocated.

Project launch

The project was launched in March 2016 by then Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation Eugene Wamalwa, with an allocation of Sh96 million.

The allocation increased from Sh96 million to Sh124 million after the launch, but according to the Government completion report, the project cost was Sh152 million.

Yesterday, the protesters claimed pipes bought for irrigation as part of the project had not been put to use.

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They claimed the matter was booked at the EACC offices in Isiolo and Nairobi, but its status had remained unclear since last year.

However, NIB, through its director of communications Daniel Nzonzo, disowned the project, saying it was under the State Department of Irrigation. “The challenges being raised by the protesters are known and the State Department is putting every effort possible to address them,” he said.

Mr Nzonzo said the project, which upon completion was to benefit more than 600 families, was one of seven stalled ones prioritised for completion this year.

water projectGhost projectEACCMeru