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DCI to question 11 over Sh38bn Itare Dam scandal

Sunday December 15 2019

Itare Dam

A deserted construction site at Itare Dam in Kuresoi South, Nakuru County on October 9, 2018. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ERIC MATARA
By ERIC MATARA
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The Directorate of Criminal Investigations has summoned 11 people, among them former board members of Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency ( RVWWDA), over alleged graft in the Sh38bn Itare Dam project.

Among those summoned to appear at the DCI headquarters on Kiambu Road on Monday to record statements over the multi-billion-shilling dam scam is Ms Lydia Ntimama, daughter of former Cabinet minister William ole Ntimama, and several senior government officials.

PUBLIC FUNDS

In a statement released on Sunday afternoon, the DCI said: “The DCI is currently investigating allegations about misappropriation of public funds in the construction of the Itare Dam. We have summoned the individuals to record statements on December 16.”  

“The following listed suspects who are connected with the ongoing investigations are hereby compelled to report to the DCI Headquarters Serious Crimes Block B on Monday, December 16, 2019 without fail,” the statement added.

Among those summoned include Christine Ndoigo, David Kinuthia, Chesaina Bartonjo, Julius Lamaoni, Nemuel Machuki, Ewoi Lochom and Samuel Kaaleng, all former board members of the Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency. Most of those summoned served between 2012 and 2015.

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Others under probe are Engineer FK Kyengo, Barrack Amolo and David Yatich, all government officials in the Ministry of Water and Sanitation.

This comes a week after Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui was grilled by the DCI over the failed multi-billion-shilling dam projects in the Rift Valley.

DAM PROJECTS

According to sources, the questions mostly dwelt on advance payments made to broke Italian firm CMC di Ravenna by the Water ministry, even when it was clear that the contractor was already having problems delivering the Kimwarer and Arror dam projects. Ms Ndoigo confirmed to the Nation that she had received the DCI summon.

“I have received the DCI summons and I am already on my way to Nairobi to record my statement tomorrow,” she said.

Itare Dam, a flagship Jubilee administration water supply project under Vision 2030, was supposed to yield 100,000 cubic metres of water per day.

Italian company CMC di Ravenna, which was constructing the dam, filed for bankruptcy in a court in Ravenna, Italy. Construction of the project was to be completed in 2021.

WATER SHORTAGE

According to the RVWWDA, construction of the mega dam was projected to end the perennial problem of water shortage in the South Rift region by serving a population of 1 million people in Kuresoi, Molo, Njoro, Rongai and Nakuru town, Kericho and Baringo counties.

On July 15, 2015, the National Treasury signed a loan agreement with Italian financiers BNP Paribas Fortis and Intesa Sanpaolo for the project’s funding.

Taxpayers have paid Sh11 billion for the project, which stalled at just 30 per cent.