Probe into Sh91b dams saga kicks off in Rome
SEE ALSO :Governors push for financial autonomyAfter the press briefing, we were unable to reach the whole day, as his handlers said he was held up in meetings. “Most of the projects that are going on at the ministry were signed before I was appointed. My role has been to fast track their implementation in order to achieve 80 per cent of water coverage across the country,” said Chelugui. “Itare dam, for example, was at 44 per cent when it stalled and we have discussed with the contractor, who has a financial problem, to sub-contract the remaining part of construction,” he said. Dragged to court In Rome, Kenyan investigating agencies, which dispatched a team of detectives there last week to tie up loose ends on the probe, have asked their Italian counterparts for support in firming up the case, which could see some Cabinet secretaries dragged to court.
SEE ALSO :Wamalwa: No plans to reduce countiesIf this happens, it will be the second time in the Jubilee Party regime that Cabinet secretaries have been directly linked to corruption, but it will be the first time they will be appearing in court. President Uhuru Kenyatta is said to have told Cabinet secretaries on Thursday that anyone found to have received kickbacks for the controversial dam projects will bear criminal culpability. Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, who was reported yesterday to be among those who may be questioned, also distanced himself from the saga. “Those dams are under the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA). My ministry is not involved in the procurement or construction of dams,” he said. CMC Di Ravenna was contracted to build the Arror, Kimwarer and Itare Dam in the Rift Valley, before it filed for bankruptcy last December. Arror Dam in Marakwet West Constituency was to cost taxpayers Sh38.5 billion. Kimwarer in Keiyo South will cost Sh28 billion while Itare dam in Kuresoi North will cost Sh27 billion. Government officials are understood to have given CMC Di Ravena too much leeway in the projects, by awarding them an EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contract similar to what happened in the Standard Gauge Railway. In an EPC contract, a contractor carries out project engineering design, procures all equipment and materials necessary, and constructs to deliver a functioning facility or asset to their clients. In the case of the dams, CMC Di Ravenna was also allowed to seek funding for the projects.