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Hopes dim for Sh34b Itare Dam as machines seized

By Kennedy Gachuhi | April 23rd 2021

The auctioneer attaches some of the construction machinery belonging to CMC Di Ravenna at a yard in Molo Forest, Nakuru County on April 22, 2021. The property was attached to recover a Sh20.6 million debt by the contractor to a local company. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard].

Hope among Nakuru residents to have sufficient water for domestic use from the Sh34 billion Itare dam in Kuresoi South continues to fade by the day.

The latest blow to the initiative was a move by auctioneers to raid and cart away property belonging to an Italian construction company that pulled out of the contract.

Molo residents on Wednesday watched as Phillips International Auctioneers raided a construction machinery yard located within Molo Forest belonging to the contractor - CMC di Ravenna. 

Residents expressed their disappointment by the turn of events. 

“It is now clear that the construction is not resuming any time soon,” said Joel Amboga, a resident. 

Alice Kering’, a resident of Salgaa area, said they are now bracing for even tougher times as they grapple with water shortage. 

“The project was set to be completed by May this year. Having the equipment at the site gave us hopes that they would resume but now it seems we will have to survive with the limited water supply,” said Kering’. 

Charles Omwenga, a former worker at the construction site, said the company left without paying their three months salaries and the seizure of its assets means they may lose their dues. 

The contractor who put the construction on hold in November 2018 left the site and closed his offices in the country before handing over the project back to the employer - Rift Valley Water Works Agency exposing its assets to auctioneers. 

The auctioneer under the protection of a contingent of police officers arrived at the yard with five trailers to enforce a court order issued by the Milimani Commercial Court on March 12. 

According to court documents seen by The Standard, Longrock Limited, a supplier had sued the contractor in September last year and applied to attach the contractor’s equipment at the Molo yard. 

“It is hereby ordered that the OCS Molo Police Station provides the auctioneer with adequate security while attaching the proclaimed assets belonging to the debtor,” ordered Senior Principal Magistrate David Mburu. 

A warrant of attachment issued by the court indicated that Longrock Limited was seeking to recover a Sh19.5 million-debt which had attracted an interest of Sh1.1 million as of September 4, 2020. 

“In the suit, CMC Di Ravenna was to pay Sh19,534,320 and whereas the sum now due and payable in respect of the decree is Sh20,690,239. Attach movable property of the said debtor unless he pays the sum together with costs of attachment,” the warrant read in part. 

Among the movable property attached by the auctioneer included a loading crane, excavators, a wheel loader, rollers, high voltage generator, and a folk lift which were rotting at the yard.

Yesterday’s raid comes at a time more suppliers are reportedly seeking to attach more of the company’s assets among them prefabricated houses, construction and office equipment in Molo and Ndoinet Forest.

Last year, the auctioneer on behalf of Barclays Bank now Absa attached over 80 vehicles and construction equipment at a yard in Kuresoi South belonging to the contractor.

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