Project management committees (PMCs) in Siaya are up in arms against the county government, accusing it of colluding with unscrupulous contractors to pay for shoddy jobs.
According to members of the various PMCs, corrupt county government officials have been overlooking the supervisory roles of PMCs and end up forging minutes to purport that they had okayed the works for the contractors to be paid.
Speaking to the press outside Got Osimbo assistant chief’s office today, members of the Kosuga – Ogambo – Hawuoto road and the Sigomere Level Four hospital staff houses projects lamented that contractors handling the two projects had been paid despite strong reservations from members over the shoddy work.
Led by a community leader, Sylvester Maroko Sijeny and Carolyne Auma Omuya, the PMC members said that county government officials convened just one meeting when the committees were being inaugurated and the sites handed over to the contractors.
“We were supposed to have a minimum of three sittings which never happened. The next thing we heard was that the contractors had been paid despite our concerns that the works were shoddy,” said Sijeny.
Sijeny took issue with the poor workmanship of the Kosuga – Ogambo – Hawuoto road where the contractor installed a drift at a sharp corner.
“This drift is off the road and is dangerous to motorists and other road users. Accidents can occur here at any time,” he said when PMC members took the press on a tour of the road.
At the Sigomere hospital, Sijeny said the PMC raised issues with poor quality materials used and the low roofing and lack of ventilation in the houses.
“We recommended first payment up to slab level during our first and only meeting,” he said adding “the building was declared complete without PMC members input and without drainage system and official handing over as is the requirement.
PMC member, Carolyne Auma Omuya said they were having it rough with community members who are accusing them of colluding with contractors and the county government to squander public funds through shoddy jobs.
“Villagers are accusing us of presiding over shoddy jobs while we were not part of it. We met only once as PMC and the next thing we heard was that the job was over and the contractor paid” she said adding that the county government had also reneged on payment of their sitting allowances.
The members called on the government to send in teams from the directorate of criminal investigations and anti-corruption body to scrutinise how payments to the projects were done without input from PMCs as is required.
“We have been raising these issues with the office of the governor but no one has ever bothered to respond or even come to the ground to establish the truth,” said Sijeny.
Contacted for comment, Siaya county government’s acting director of communications, Auscar Wambiya referred us to the governor’s service delivery unit where an officer, Joash Wasonga said they worked within the regulations in processing payments to the contractors.
“Kosuga – Ogambo – Hawuoto road PMC held two meetings and we did not see the need for the third one,” he told Kenya News Agency.
By Philip Onyango