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Parliamentary Committee Puts Water Agency on the Spot over Stalled Project

The National Assembly departmental committee on Blue Economy and Irrigation has put the Central Rift Water Works Development Authority (CRWWDA) and the Kirandich phase 2 contractor on the spot over the stalled project.

The committee chaired by Marakwet East member of Parliament Kangogo Bowen took issue with the delay of the project which has been running for seven years with little to show for the Sh271 million paid to the Italian contractor Cospin.

The committee which was on a fact-finding mission on water and irrigation projects in Baringo said it was unfair for government to continue servicing a loan which the taxpayers are not benefiting from.

“It is bad that the government is serving the loan yet the intended beneficiaries are still not enjoying the benefits of the project,” said Kangogo Bowen.

The contractor was at pains to explain the reason for the delay and the 15 percent works completion claimed to have been paid for at Sh271 million.

“Where is the 15 per cent works done? We are not seeing,” wondered Mr. Bowen.

Bowen said Covid 19 affected everyone and the pre-covid projects had been completed and thus the contractor should not blame covid for the delay.        

At the contractor’s site in Kabarnet Town the MPs castigated the contractor for lack of show of seriousness saying the machines mobilized could not match the mega project worth Sh 2.1 billion.

“Let me hope the contractor is serious, we are worried Kenyans are suffering, the project was initiated to save Kenyans, 2016 to date, only 15 percent, surely?” wondered Charity Kathambi Member of the Committee.

The Agency’s acting CEO CPA Douglas Murei said that the contractor had issues with some sub-contractors in the past but has decided to execute the project by themselves.

“They are serious now and they have mobilized, the Italian government is committed through the ambassador and they have approved a no objection within a day,” assured the CEO.

The committee also inquired of possible means to generate power to pump water from the treatment plant to the 6000 litre reservoir at Kabarnet town saying the current consumption of electricity at Sh 6 million per month was unsustainable considering the company was raising only Sh1.5 million in water sales.

Earlier on during a courtesy call at Baringo Governor’s office, Bowen said they were assessing the project which has delayed for seven years so that they could factor the project in the upcoming supplementary budget.

The team also visited Perkerra irrigation scheme in Marigat and Chemususu dam in Eldama Ravine which they say had clean bill of health save for the delays occasioned by the exchequer.

They also divulged that the new initiative to use lake Baringo water for irrigation had kick started with the advertisement for the Komolion irrigation project in Tiaty which they had raised the initial allocation of Sh 65 million to Sh100 million.

The team comprised of Malindi County Member of parliament Amina Mnyazi, Ndaragwa MP George Gachagua, the team from the water agency comprised of Engineer Cherutich Kutol, and the Board Member Dr. Daniel Tuitoek.

The contractor promised to finish the project within eighteen months should everything go on according to their plan.

The 14 million cubic metres Kirandich dam was constructed in 1994 in phase 1 through an Italian conditional loan, the second phase that encompasses extension of pipeline to neighbouring towns and the sewer component has been bedeviled by delays since the year 2002.

By Christopher Kiprop

 

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