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Contractors to sue Tharaka-Nithi County over Sh50m unpaid dues

Friday February 3 2017

A grader works on a road linking Tharaka-Nithi

A grader works on a road linking Tharaka-Nithi and Meru counties. Contractors have threatened to sue the Tharaka-Nithi County government for failing to pay them over Sh50 million they say has accrued for several years. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA 

ALEX NJERU
By ALEX NJERU
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Contractors have threatened to sue the Tharaka-Nithi County government for failing to pay them over Sh50 million they say has accrued for several years.

Speaking to the Nation in Chuka on Friday, the contractors said they are contemplating suing the county to compel it to pay them.

Martin Mutegi, one of the contractors, said the businessmen are tired of camping at Governor Samuel Ragwa's offices in Kathwana to demand the money.

“Some of us worked for the county government two years ago and completed the projects, but any time we ask to be paid we are either told there is no money or asked to present papers,” said Mr Mutegi.

Mwongera Baikunyua, another contractor, said delaying payments for development projects that have been completed is giving the county leadership a bad name and should be discouraged.

SWAY PUBLIC OPINION

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He said most local contractors are opinion leaders and they could easily sway members of the public into voting out errant officials.

“Delaying payment for public works done not only inconveniences the contractor but also augurs badly for (county) government officials especially now that efforts to fight corruption are being stepped up,” Mr Baikunyua said.

Responding to the complaints, the county government has acknowledged owing money to contractors and has promised to pay them Sh20 million in the next two weeks.

Roads executive Basilio Gitonga said the money has been outstanding for a long time and thanked the contractors for their patience.

Mr Gitonga, who made the remarks when he addressed the contractors and their agents, said that since money is now available, his office will immediately start verifying the contract documents before money for the various projects is released.

Some of the projects for which the contractors are seeking payment are pit latrines built at local markets and other public places, health centres, roads and roadside sheds.

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