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Eight arrested over Arror, Kimwarer dams scandal

Monday July 22 2019

Kerio Valley Development Authority's acting

Kerio Valley Development Authority's acting Managing Director Francis Kipkech (right) and David Onyango, a tender committee member, are led away by detectives from the KVDA offices in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County on July 22, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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By NATION TEAM
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Eight people among them Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich have been arrested on fraud and corruption charges over the multibillion-shilling Arror and Kimwarer dams projects in Elgeyo-Marakwet.

Treasury's Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge joined his boss at the DCI headquarters when he presented himself soon after the arrest orders were made by the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

Others held at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations offices along Kiambu Road are East African Community PS Susan Jemtai Koech and the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) director-general Prof Geoffrey Mwangi Wahungu.

Mr Wahungu was arrested in Tharaka-Nithi County, eastern Kenya, and taken to the DCI headquarters.

Tharaka-Nithi County criminal investigations boss Ms Betty Chepngeno said Prof Wahungu was arrested at his home in Rukindu Estate in Chuka.

"Yes, we have arrested the Nema Director General and we are already on our way to Nairobi DCI headquarters," said Ms Chepngeno confirmed on phone.

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Nema Director-General Prof Geoffrey Wahungu is
Nema Director-General Prof Geoffrey Wahungu is escorted to a waiting vehicle at Chuka Police Station to be taken to Nairobi. He was arrested at his home in Rukungi Estate in Chuka town. PHOTO | ALEX NJERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

KVDA

In North Rift, Uasin Gishu County, detectives raided the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) headquarters in Eldoret and arrested the acting Managing Director Francis Kipkech, who is a member of the tender committee.

Also arrested are KVDA tender committee members Patrick Kiptoo and David Juma Onyango, and Charity Muui, a clerk for the Ad hoc Technical and Evaluation Committee.

Presence of the detectives at KVDA shortly after Mr Haji made the arrest orders caused a stir and panic among staff.

Some of the suspects, however, escaped the police dragnet during the 11am raid.

The detectives are now hunting for 13 KVDA staff implicated in the dams scandal that saw taxpayers lose Sh21 billion paid out to a bankrupt Italian firm for the projects which never took off.

Those arrested were taken to the Eldoret Central Police Station awaiting to be transferred to Nairobi for arraignment.

The suspects face eight charges of economic crimes.

Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen
Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen arriving at the DCI headquarters on July 22, 2019. He said he was a lawyer representing some of the suspects held over the dams scam. "I have looked at the charge sheets and I can tell you the entire thing is a charade," he said. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The Sh35 billion Arror dam in Marakwet West and Sh28 billion Kimwarer dam in Keiyo South were expected to serve more than 50,000 people.

The directors of CMC di Ravenna and Itenera of Italy that was awarded the tenders are among suspects to be arrested over the scam for allegedly bribing senior government officials.

- Reporting by Vincent Achuka, Alex Njeru, Barnabas Bii.