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State officials, CSs to be probed over Sh19 billion Itare dam project

By Kamore Maina | December 8th 2019
Itare Dam site in Kuresoi South in Nakuru County on September 17, 2019. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The plunder of the Sh19 billion Itare dam project involved high profile individuals in government and they will soon face the law.

Yesterday, Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti said a number of high ranking government officials would be summoned to the DCI headquarters to record statements.

Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui has since recorded a statement with DCI serious crime unit investigators over the stalled project.

Sources familiar with the investigations said two CSs and the entire Rift Valley Water Services Board members are among those the investigators are seeking for questioning.

The CSs, whom the police want to shed light on the matter served in the Water Ministry between 2013 to date.

According to the sources, Mr Chelugui told the police that he found the Itare dam contracts had already been signed when he took over the ministry from Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.

The Water CS who spoke during the launch of the Resource centre on ground water resources education training and research strategic plan 2018-2022 in Nairobi, said he was not in office during the procurement process of the dam project. 

“Itare dam project started in 2014 and that’s when it was signed, sealed and delivered. I, however, took over office in 2018 and found payments had been done and work was going on,” he said.

Chelugui told the investigators that after taking over leadership at the ministry, he was informed of wrangles touching on the construction of the dam and that some of the matters were headed to court.

Since then he has made several attempts to salvage construction of the dams.

“He said he had been consulting the Environment Ministry on the issue of water passage which is yet to be cleared,” one source told Sunday Standard.

Investigations have revealed that despite the dam having been cleared for construction and a Sh11 billion advance payment made, the contractors were yet to get authority from the Kenya Forest Service to provide a pathway in the forest where the water pipes will pass.

The National Management Environment Authority approved the construction of the dam. 

Investigators want to establish how the procurement for the construction works was done. Already, the investigators have mapped out how the Sh11 billion was paid out to a company. 

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

When Sunday Standard team visited the site, we found construction materials and equipment abandoned and being guarded by police. 

Some earth movers and trucks have had their wheels deflated. The site that was once teeming with activity is now deserted after workers left.

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