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Ngilu accuses her assistant of graft

BUSINESS
By | March 16th 2011
By | March 16th 2011
BUSINESS

By Alex Ndegwa

Minister for Water Charity Ngilu claimed her former assistant Mwangi Kiunjuri went public over alleged graft in her docket because she blocked his attempt to have a contractor paid Sh652 million in inflated fees.

But yesterday, Kiunjuri accused Parliament’s Lands and Natural Resources Committee of selectively investigating irregular procurements involving five large dams worth Sh10 billion, alleging "there is corruption in this committee".

The House team has been investigating claims the construction of five dams worth Sh10 billion was riddled with corruption. Yesterday, the committee meeting turned stormy after Kiunjuri claimed the members had been compromised.

Mrs Ngilu alleged Kiunjuri colluded with National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation (NWCPC) chairman Geoffrey Mang’uriu and Ms Mary Mungai, a director of Draft and Developers Engineers Ltd, which was awarded the contract to build Umaa Dam in her constituency at a cost of Sh824 million, to demand the additional payment.

She told Parliament’s Lands and Natural Resources Committee, which is investigating claims the construction of five dams worth Sh10 billion was riddled with corruption that the plot to inflate the cost could have been hatched during a round of golf.

Round of golf

The minister cited a golf club’s teeing off schedule of August 26 last year, which she alleged showed Kiunjuri, Mungai, Mang’uriu and a Mr Gikandi, a director of NWCPC, signed as numbers 40, 41, 43 and 46 for a round of golf prior to the suggestions for the price variation.

The minister added three days after the golf meeting, Kiunjuri instructed the NWCPC Managing Director Petronila Ogut to facilitate a tour of Umaa Dam in her Kitui Central Constituency during which Kiunjuri allegedly said the dam could not be completed unless an additional Sh652 million was paid out.

Ngilu claimed she was not privy to the visit and only rushed there after getting word that her assistant was on site. "I asked him on which side are you; that of the contractor or the project’s client NWCPC?" Ngilu told the committee chaired by Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi.

She added: "There was something the contractor, the corporation’s chairman and my former assistant had cooked up about this additional money."

But when he appeared earlier before the committee, Kiunjuri denied making a request for the additional payment to the contractor and claimed the MD could have forged the minutes.

The minister said Mang’uriu had been appointed chairman of the corporation even though his name was not among the three she had recommended to the President.

Ngilu was hesitant to reveal her shortlist but after demands by the members, she said she had proposed former Kibwezi MP, Agnes Ndetei, civil society lawyers, Anne Njogu and Judy Thongori.

The committee concluded taking evidence Tuesday and Musyimi said the team would table a report in Parliament next month.

Kiunjuri claimed Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito, a member of the committee, had reportedly sought to influence investigations when the committee was on a fact-finding mission in Nakuru.

Kiunjuri alleged Kizito pulled aside Mang’uriu and asked him to "leave the MD alone so this matter ends".

But when Kiunjuri could not substantiate, he was forced to withdraw and apologise.

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