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CSs Kiunjuri, Munya quizzed over Sh65 billion dams saga

By Cyrus Ombati | March 27th 2019 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri addressing the press at DCI headquarters after he was questioned over the Kimwarerel Dam scandal. [Beverlyne Musili/Standard]

Three ministers were yesterday questioned over the awarding of a multi-billion-shilling tender for the construction of two dams to an Italian firm.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and his East Africa and Regional Development counterpart Peter Munya appeared before detectives at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

Also questioned was East African Community Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed.

Yesterday was the second time that Mr Kiunjuri was appearing before the team of investigators, with sources saying he was summoned to “clarify a number of issues that had emerged".

Kiunjuri was at the helm of the Devolution ministry when contracts awarding the construction of the Kimwarer and Arror dams in Elgeyo Marakwet to CMC Di Ravenna were signed.

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The CS did not talk to journalists when he left the interview room as he rushed to attend a meeting at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

Mr Munya drove to the DCI headquarters in the afternoon and spent the better part of the day talking to detectives.

Police said the officials were being grilled as witnesses in the case.

All past and current principal secretaries from the time the projects were conceptualised have also been summoned and questioned.

On March 14, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa appeared before the detectives investigating the Sh65 billion saga.

Mr Wamalwa was the minister for Water and Irrigation from July 2015 to January 26 last year when he was handed his current docket.

Due diligence

Former Attorney General Githu Muigai last Friday recorded a statement on what he knew about the dams deal. He told investigators that his advise to the Treasury not to sign the contracts until due diligence had been conducted was ignored.

Detectives are investigating claims some of the money paid by Kenya to CMC Di Ravenna, the contracting company that is currently facing financial distress, was used to pay kickbacks.

The National Treasury said a total of Sh21 billion has already been paid to the contractor and Sace- an insurance firm in Italy.

Detectives have already questioned National Treasury CS Henry Rotich four times, top managers of the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) as well as several suppliers of various goods and services.

KVDA Managing Director David Kimosop signed the Sh65 billion contracts on April 5, 2017.

A preliminary report on the progress of investigations has been handed to Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji.

Officials from the AG and Solicitor General’s chambers who handled the contracts with the Italian firm before the money was paid have also been questioned.

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said they were giving all parties involved a chance to explain their role in the affair.

The DPP had asked police to also investigate the tendering process, as well as the discrepancies in the identities of the parties that bid for the projects and those who won the tenders.

Investigators will also inquire into why the designs for the dams were being done 'post-fact', meaning after payments and contracts had been made.

They have also been asked to look into the involvement of a large number of Government officials in the process, which explains why reactions to the investigations have taken a political turn.

Police have also seized cars that were bought for the project, but were diverted elsewhere. The assorted vehicles were seized from yards in Nairobi and Nakuru after it emerged that they are registered under different names and had been diverted to the Itare Dam project in Nakuru.

Officials say the poor financial health of the Italian firm is also thought to be the reason the contractor abandoned Itare Dam and failed to start works at the Arror and Kimwarer sites.


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