Senate to probe controversial Sh81 million water hyacinth harvester

A Hyacinth Harvester that has been purchased by Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project II. The Harvester has been packed at the Kisumu Pier. [Philip Orwa, Standard]
Senate will be probing why a Sh81 million water hyacinth harvester has not been used since its acquisition three years ago.

Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee Chairman Moses Kajwang’ said at the weekend that the committee would summon relevant agencies to shed light on the procurement of the machine.

Reports have indicated that it is faulty.

The machine, which was acquired from Italy, has been lying idle at the Kisumu pier.

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Revisit issue

“We shall go to Parliament and revisit the issue. We will want to find out why what taxpayers paid for has not delivered the results that were expected,” said Mr Kajwang’.

The harvester was acquired by the national government in collaboration with other partners in the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Programme (LVEMP).

Kajwang’ said siltation and hyacinth had affected most of the ports in Homa Bay like Karachuonyo, Rangwe, Kanyada and Suba.

Kisumu Senator Fred Outa said he would support Kajwang’ in finding the truth behind the idling of the machine.

He said the culpable would face the law.

He commended Kenya and Uganda governments for efforts to restore the lake through desiltation and removal of hyacinth.

“This is a milestone, and we want the principals to keep the spirit so that development can be realised. Without the “handshake”, this would not have been realised,” said Mr Outa.

But even as the senators questioned the dealings that led to the acquisition of the harvester at such an exorbitant price, Opposition leader Raila Odinga said another harvester would be arriving from Uganda. It will be used to remove the hyacinth before the other one is repaired.

He said there were plans to have engineers from the Italian firm that supplied the stalled harvester to travel into the country and fix it.

“The engineers from Italy will be here from next week to repair the harvester so that it can start working immediately,” Raila said.

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