State eyes property to recover billions lost in dams scandal

A section of Itare Dam in Kuresoi North. (Kipsang Joseph, Standard)
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has said properties bought by proceeds from questionable multibillion-shilling dams deals that might see Kenyans lose billions of shillings will be confiscated.

“Investigations that may lead to identification of any properties that are proceeds of crime be given a top priority,” the DPP said.

In his statement released late yesterday, Haji said the properties, which have already been identified and mapped out by investigating authorities, belong to high level government officials involved in the dubious tendering and procurement processes of the dam projects. Some of the projects in question include Itare, Embobut, Kimwarer and Arror dams as well as the Napuu II irrigation project.

The DPP said several key witnesses have already given evidence with regard to the possible corruption in the tendering and payment for the projects.

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“I have been persuaded that the complaints lodged were not without merit and the evidence so far suggests that the breaches of the law emerging, and their consequences merit intense and thorough investigations,” reads the statement.

The properties believed to have been purchased from proceeds from the dams fiasco are residential and commercial properties spread across the country, with a majority of them located in high-end addresses within Nairobi.

Investigators will focus on several key areas that touch on the tendering process, discrepancies in the identities of the parties that bid for the tenders, the award of tenders in the absence of project designs, the attempts to manufacture designs post awarding of the tenders as well as the contemptuous payment of Sh21 billion to contractors in the Kamwarer and Arror projects, a figure that starkly contradicts the sum of Sh7 billion that Deputy President William Ruto had initially said was under probe.

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“With regard to the Kimwarer and Arror Projects, the contractual sum under investigation is Sh65 billion, with Sh21 billion already paid,” Haji said.

Questioned

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The Arror and Kimwarer projects are being undertaken by the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA), a body established in 1979 to plan, coordinate and implement integrated river-based development programmes in the Kerio Valley basin. When completed, Arror Dam is expected to produce more than 60 megawatts while Kimwarer will produce 20 megawatts of electricity.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich spent the better part of this week at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters along Nairobi’s Kiambu Road, answering questions by investigating officers over the dams projects.

His Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge has also visited the DCI headquarters. Last week, KVDA Managing Director David Kimosop and several board members of the state corporation were questioned by the DCI. The KVDA, which contracted Italian companies CMC Di Ravenna and Itinera for the projects, is at the centre of investigations into allegations of payment of kickbacks to officials.

KVDA procurement boss William Maina Kiprotich, and the authority’s engineer Paul Serem were also questioned. The authority has maintained that only Sh7.8 billion was paid for the project while DCI says their probe shows up to Sh21 billion has been released so far.

This includes Sh6.3 billion mobilisation funds. Investigators believe Sh4 billion of the amount was used to pay kickbacks to various parties. Detectives have questioned about 100 people so far.

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Thugge is among those already questioned in what is shaping up to be a highly politicised corruption investigation, with politicians from different parties interpreting the recent graft purge in different ways.

“Any ensuing prosecutions will be undertaken professionally devoid of any witch hunt, political considerations or any other extraneous matters,” Haji said. 

It has also emerged that the investigation over the dams’ scandal will be multinational, with investigators from foreign countries being roped in to trail the movement of the funds under probe.

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Director of Public ProsecutionsNoordin HajiArror damsDams ScandalCorruption