KENYA: Dam scandal

officials looking at maps for the Kimwarer Dam project
officials looking at maps for the Kimwarer Dam project
When the Jubilee government was inaugurated in 2013, it embarked on a journey of ensuring more supply of water for domestic use, as well as irrigation, by expanding dam networks across the country.

 Ironically, this has become a pipe dream with talk of shadowy payments being made for work on Arror and Kamwarer dam projects even before the earthmovers have been fuelled. The scam that has sucked in key government officials and cabinet secretaries.

 How it all started

 February 16: Swirling media reports question why and how CMC di Ravenna, an Italian firm said to be bankrupt, was given the go-ahead to construct the dams. Unconfirmed reports indicate that CMC had wired billions of shillings as kickbacks to unnamed peoples account at a bank in Westland, Nairobi.

February 25: Reports have it that Arror and Kamwarer dams, whose construction cost is put at Sh63.4 billion, have stalled and the contractor is not on site.

• It is also reported that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations has finalised a dossier on the tendering of the phantom hydroelectric power dam projects.

 • Media reports also question why the contractor was paid billions of shillings in down payment yet a year later there was nothing to show on how the billions were spent.

 February 26: The Director of Criminal Investigations, George Kinoti, releases a list of prominent people and directors of 107 firms implicated in the scam, ordering them to present themselves at the DCI headquarters, Kiambu Road, Nairobi.

• Bureaucrats, technocrats and the directors of various firms listed by the DCI boss are grilled on the matter, including the contracted firm CMC di Ravenna. February 28: The Kerio Valley Development Authority which is in charge of the projects, through a full-page advert in. The Standard, dispels reports indicating that the projects have stalled, say the contractor is on site and preliminary activities on the project have been completed.

• The Authority defends itself on the awarding of the contracts, explaining the model of the project was the one referred in contract jargon as Engineering, Procurement and Construction plus Financing (EPC+F ) and that the contractor was to be sourced from the financing country, Italy.

 • In that context, KVDA meant that the signing of the contract with CMC di Ravenna happened prior to the signing of the loan agreement with the Italian government. On the down payments, KVDA says that was in accordance with the terms of the agreement and it was the practice in the execution of such projects.

 February 28: Deputy President William Ruto calls reports to the effect that Shs21 billion lost as "a flat lie".

• Says the money under investigation was about Sh7 billion and that no money would be lost since EPC+ F comes with a protected bank or insurance guarantee.

• Water Cabinet Secretary for water Simon Chelugui distances his ministry from the projects saying his ministry was not anywhere close to the project; that the projects fall under the Ministry of East African Corporation and Regional Development.
  • Senate majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen at a Senate proceeding disputes the claims that money was lost, says the allegations are a ploy to deny his county the two projects and give them to another county.

• According to Murkomen, the DCI boss investigations are a political witch-hunt targeted at a specific community wondering why no one had questioned other dams in different counties on a similar financing model. Confusion.

• The details of the investigations by the DCI boss have not provided a clear picture of the scam, at least to the public.

 • The exact amounts lost oscillate between Sh7 billion and a jaw-dropping Sh63 billion Sh7 billion According to the Deputy President, this is the figure in contention; Kamwarer (Sh4.9bn) and Arror Sh3.2bn Sh21 billion This is the amount the media reports as stolen Sh63 billion The size of the borrowed from the Italian government for the two projects.


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