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Water CS Simon Chelugui questioned over stalled Sh19b Itare Dam

NAIROBI
By Cyrus Ombati | December 4th 2019
Questioned: Water and Irrigation CS Simon Chelugui. [File, Standard]

Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui was Wednesday grilled by police over Sh19 billion stalled Itare Dam project.

Chelugui was summoned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters where he was questioned. He recorded what insiders called a long statement on what he knew about the saga.

He arrived there at around 7.30 am. It was the first time Chelugui was facing the detectives who have been gathering evidence about the case. He has in the past denied any wrongdoing in the saga.

Itare Dam was projected to serve around 800,000 people in Nakuru, Kuresoi, Molo and Rongai.

The dam has had an array of challenges ranging from compensation, flawed procurement processes and numerous court cases.

Officials say it is a case similar to the Arror and Kimwarer dams saga for which suspended Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and his Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge have been prosecuted. Rotich and Thugge, alongside 26 co-accused, have denied the graft charges.

So far, Sh11.5 billion has been paid for the stalled project in Nakuru, but investigators say there is nothing to show for the money.

Chelugui had said remaining works at Itare will be sub-contracted to a third party after the current contractor filed for bankruptcy.

Chelugui said the contractor will nominate another company to execute the remaining work without altering the initial cost.

DPP Noordin Haji and DCI George Kinoti had visited the site and declared only 10 per cent of the work had been done. Works have stalled and up to 70 cars seconded to the company have been confiscated in the probe.

Managers at Barclays Bank have also been questioned over the purchase of the cars for the project.

But according to the ministry, the 57-metre-high dam with 28 million-cubic-metre storage, whose construction started on April 6, 2017, is 43 per cent complete.

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