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Itare dam’s money traced to schools and supermarkets

NAIROBI
By Kamore Maina | January 12th 2020
Bulldozers and lorries at Itare dam in Kuresoi on July 28 last year. [File]

Food and drinks worth millions of shillings, school fees at high end international schools and medical care at top hospitals were paid for using money from the accounts of troubled Italian firm, CMC Di Ravenna.

Bank documents held by the DCI have revealed how the billions of shillings meant for the construction of Itare dam were diverted to other uses, some totally unrelated to construction.

The accounts, according the documents, show that the money was wired to the school through bank transfers from the contractors account number 2032037804 held at the Barclays Bank, Westlands branch.

The account holders are listed as Paolo Porcelli and Adriano Donadoni, who are Italians and directors of the troubled construction company CMC Di Ravenna.

A sum of Sh664,615 was, for instance, sent to the accounts of the Molo-based St Andrews School Turi.

The money was sent to the school on August 2, 2018, from the accounts of the troubled contractor CMC DI Ravenna in Nairobi.

It is not clear why the money was sent, but a check on the school website on the school fees charged gives an indicator that the payment could have been for that purpose.

The school charges Sh663,900 per term for students in years One and Two. 

Efforts to reach the school for a comment yesterday were unsuccessful. Multiple calls and emails to the school went unanswered.

DCI Serious Crime Unit officers have since obtained banking details of expenditure amounting to Sh1 billion.

The DCI’s list of beneficiaries include both public and private companies. The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) is among the public institutions that received Sh8,397,136 from the accounts of the bankrupted firm.

Investigators believe the money was payment for health insurance of  workers but are yet to verify the same from the management of NHIF.

Acting NHIF Chief Executive Officer Nicodemus Odongo said he could not confirm or deny that his organisation had received the dam money.

“What I know is that we are not in any way involved in dam construction,” he said. Naivas CEO David Mukuha, who according to DCI had been paid Sh700,000 from the accounts of CMC DI Ravenna, said he was not in a position to confirm if the supermarket had received any money from the troubled firm.

“We have a lot of transactions on any day. I may not know what was paid for and by whom. We are however not involved in dam construction,” Mukuha said in a telephone interview. “If the DCI has any queries, we are more than ready to provide the details.”

Bamburi Portland Cement received the lion’s share of the Sh 500 million that the DCI has mapped out so far.  

The company received Sh 107.5 million. Investigators believe that the cash was meant for purchase of cement.

The company was also not reachable to confirm if this was the case as calls to their Kitui Road headquarters in Nairobi were switched off.

Yesterday, DCI chief George Kinoti said investigations into the collapsed dam projects will start next week when the government officials are expected to record statements.

Board members

Among those the DCI wants to shed light include CSs, who served in the Water Ministry between 2013 to date. “We will be concluding the investigations soon,” Kinoti said.

The entire Rift Valley Water Services Board members have also been summoned to record statements with the police.

Kinoti earlier revealed that Sh19 billion meant for the Itare dam project had been misappropriated by individuals in and out of government.

Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui has since recorded a statement with DCI’s Serious Crime Unit investigators over the stalled project.

Construction of the Itare dam stalled after CMC Di Ravenna, the company contracted to build it, was declared bankrupt.

Chelugui told the police that when he took over the ministry, the Itare dam contracts had already been signed.

He told the investigators that after he moved to the ministry, he was informed of the wrangles touching on the construction of the dam and that some of the matters were headed to court.

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