alexa MPs order special audit of Sh865m dams, water pans project - Daily Nation

MPs order special audit of Sh865m dams, water pans project

Sunday February 16 2020

Itare Dam site in Kuresoi South

The site in Kuresoi South, Nakuru County, where Itare Dam was to be built, as pictured on September 17, 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DAVID MWERE
By DAVID MWERE
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A parliamentary committee has directed the Office of the Auditor-General to undertake a special audit of Sh865.3 million spent in construction of small dams and water pans in parts of the country.

The audit, according to the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC), will establish whether there was value for money in the expenditure by the State Department of Irrigation.

It comes after former Auditor-General Edward Ouko, in his 2017/18 audit of the accounts of the State Department, said he could not confirm the expenditure in Northern Kenya, Coast, Eastern and parts of Rift Valley.

GAPS

The report notes that the State department did not provide an inventory of all the water pans and small dams, indicating their physical locations, contractors, when they were constructed and their status as requested.

There were also no technical reports on feasibility, hydrology, environmental impact, that should have preceded the construction.

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“This committee directs the office of the auditor-general to undertake a special audit of the dams said to have been constructed to determine whether public funds were used in the right manner,” PAC Chairman Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) said.

NO ASSESSMENT

The directive came after Irrigation Principal Secretary (PS) Joseph Irungu told the committee last week that although feasibility, design reports and drawings are available, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was not undertaken.

The audit report also notes that the contracts entered into were not dated and that there was no evidence of individual evaluation score sheets of each contract, for both technical and financial evaluation.

There was also no proof that a cost-benefit analysis was done on the importance of either constructing new dams and water pans or rehabilitating existing ones.

COMPLAINTS

Last year, the committee visited the dams after complaints that the projects did not exist yet the government pumped hundreds of millions into their construction.

The department is also on the spot for delay in completion of various irrigation schemes spread in the counties of Murang’a, Tharaka-Nithi and Bomet.

“A review of the project records and field inspections of the schemes revealed delay in their execution and a possible delay in both completion and in attaining their purposes,” the auditor’s report says.

SLOW WORK

The report further notes that the project management entered into a one-year contract with contractors for the five irrigation schemes.

The contractual period lapsed but most of the contractors had hardly done 50 per cent of the work.

It was also noted that all the contractors sought extension periods of between three and six months.

Whereas the extensions were granted, it was apparent that most of them would not complete the works, hence doubt on their capacity to execute the projects.