Detectives grill Henry Rotich over Kimwarer, Arror payments

Tuesday March 5 2019

Henry Rotich.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich. He is in the soup over the dam payments. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ANITA CHEPKOECH
By ANITA CHEPKOECH
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At 5.45am Tuesday, the car carrying National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich entered the nerve centre of Kenya’s criminal investigations in the capital Nairobi.

Mr Rotich was honouring the summons issued by crime busters looking into the alleged sinking of more than Sh20 billion in two phantom dam projects in Elgeyo-Marakwet County.

And for more than six straight hours, Mr Rotich, who entered the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Kiambu Road under the cover of darkness, is yet to see the sun.

The Treasury mandarin, who has been trending on Twitter since morning, is under scrutiny for authorising payment of Sh20 billion to firms linked to Kimwarer and Arror dam projects.

He is also accused of writing to the National Land Commission asking officials to deal with land allocation issues to enable Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) to resettle residents displaced by the projects.

KVDA, which contracted Italian companies CMC di Ravenna and Itinera for the projects, is also at the centre of investigations over alleged payment of kickbacks to officials to win the Kimwarer and Arror tenders.

RUTO CLAIMS

Last week, Mr Rotich defended himself in a newspaper advertisement, justifying the Sh20 billion paid in advance for the construction of the two dams.

In so doing, Mr Rotich ended up contradicting claims by Deputy President William Ruto that only Sh7 billion had been paid out.

Mr Rotich said that up to Sh19.8 billion had been paid to different firms in the two projects on various dates by end of last year.

The paid amount is Sh1.2 billion short of the Sh21 billion the DCI is pursuing, and Mr Rotich said the payments were largely fees paid out as part of the conditions to be met before construction started.

This is the second time Mr Rotich is appearing before the detectives to shed light on the Elgeyo-Marakwet projects.

Others under investigation include KVDA Managing Director David Kimosop and several board members of the state corporation who have been questioned for the fourth time by the DCI.