MPs told how Ngilu stormed board meeting

March 1, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 1 – A Parliamentary Committee investigating corruption at the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation has been told how Water Minister Charity Ngilu stormed a board meeting that was investigating the corruption claims.

Board Chairman Geoffrey Mang\’uriu a told the Committee on Lands and Natural Resources that Mrs Ngilu made three attempts to eject him from chairing the November 4 meeting but he declined.

Mr Mang\’uriu said that the minutes of the meeting and two others that discussed the outright flouting of procurement rules including a report recommending action on senior officers have gone missing.

"I find this very unprocedural and up to this date I wonder who or what the minister was protecting," the chairman said.

An inquiry by an ad-hoc committee of the board identified that tendering rules were flouted and called for disciplinary action against the acting Managing Director Petronillah Ogut but no action was taken.

"I have since been asking for the minutes of that board meeting but they have not been forthcoming," said Mr Mang\’uriu.

The Managing Director is the Secretary to the board and responsible for taking minutes of board meetings.

Mrs Ngilu is under investigations by the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission for flouting procurement rules and possible nepotism in awarding of contracts. A number of directors of adversely mentioned companies have been associated with some of family members.

Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri blew the whistle on the graft last year, prompting KACC to open investigations along with the parliamentary committee.

The committee has been investigating procurement of materials and services at the board in which it is reported that the State could have lost millions of shillings in dubious deals including inflation of prices.

The chairman has been isolated by other members of the board who have accused him of running the board unilaterally and attempting to perform the functions of the management. Mid last month 10 board members denounced a report presented by Mr Mang\’uriu saying it was a personal report.

Mr Mang\’uriu had requested the Tuesday meeting with the committee to share his side of the story. He defended himself saying by the time he was hired the contracts of procurement of goods and services had been done.

The Chairman told the Committee that there exists a well connected web of corruption which has proved hard to eliminate.

"Since I was hired I have raised these matters. There is a case in which two consultants have been procured to work in seven out of the twelve dams. I proposed that some of these contracts be re-advertised but I was overruled by the board," he said.

He admitted that he had in a number of times acted unilaterally including \’the suspension of Ms Ogut\’ which was overruled by the board in his absence.

"We are holding a retreat from tomorrow to bond because for us to achieve our mandate we must act in a united manner," he told the committee.

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