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Irrigation agency off the hook as official explains dam project status

The  National Irrigation Board (NIB) has been let off the hook for alleged construction failures in a multimillion dam
project in Kinango Sub-county, Kwale County.

The  Board  had  been accused of failing to implement the Kinango-Mabesheni dam as per the recommended specifications as  contained in the Government Electronic Project Information System a claim that was finally found to be incorrect after the  board gave the true position about the project.

NIB  successfully defended itself before the County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee (CDICC) after it  was put on the spot over variations in the scope of work on the project among other discrepancies.

What raised eyebrows even further was that the government data system showed the project was allocated Sh.70million, a  claim the board discounted insisting it instead received and spent only Sh.48.8million.

Then there was the issue of the project design which showed it was supposed to have an irrigation component whereas on the ground only a water pan had been constructed.

The  committee which coordinates all national government projects in the region had demanded an explanation from the board on the inconsistencies but it was finally satisfied after the board gave an explanation.

A  senior  official  from  the  Board, Raphael  Mutiso set the record straight by presenting a project status report  along  with  the contractual agreement document to the committee chaired by the County Commissioner (CC), Karuku  Ngumo.

Mutiso  said  the approved contract and bill of quantity indicated that the project was a water pan and not a dam meant to  serve 400 people with water for domestic and livestock use.

“There  was  no irrigation component in the agreement and what we did was purely excavation and earthworks,” he told  the  committee at the CC’s office in Kwale town, adding that the board had nothing to hide from the public about the project.

“NIB has no classified information,” said Mutiso who strongly defended the irrigation agency against any wrongdoing.

Two  other  projects whose design in the portal is erroneously shown as having an irrigation element include Imbodze and  Mwandori  water pans which cost a total of Sh.28million, according to the official.

A  Director  from  the President’s Delivery Unit (PDU), Eliud Lepararei, raised concern over  inaccuracies in the

information  on some projects in the portal.

“There have been cases where what the portal shows in terms of funding and the scope of work is different from what is actually on the ground. We take great exception to this. Those behind the anomalies must be held responsible,” he said, adding that the misreporting could lead to unnecessary suspicions.

Lepararei gave another example in Taita-Taveta County where the project portal showed an 8km road was tarmacked at a cost of Sh. 2billion yet the money was also used on a major road.

By  James  Muchai

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