NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 31 – Water Minister Charity Ngilu has dissolved the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation Board.
The Managing Director and nine senior officials have also been forced to go on compulsory leave to pave way for investigations.
Ms Ngilu said on Friday that audits conducted by the Efficiency Monitoring Unit (EMU) indicated that some of the officials could have been involved in irregularities, which saw the body amass an outstanding Sh750 million debt, crippling business at the institution.
“What is very clear at the moment is that the management of the corporation has so far not offered very satisfactory explanations for the irregularities. It is my view that deeper investigations are required,” she declared.
The Minister added that investigations were still under way to establish what caused a fire at the Corporation’s Administration Block in Industrial Area last month, which destroyed crucial documents including payment vouchers and staff files.
“The matter is a subject of police investigations and the culprits of any mischief that might be suspected will of course face the full force of the law. It is my conviction that the steps I have taken will pave way for thorough investigations at this institution,” she stated.
Ms Ngilu also revealed that she had requested the EMU to further investigate financial transactions at the corporation for the last financial year (2008/2009) adding that the employees of the water ministry would be deployed to the corporation to keep it functioning.
“I shall in due course appoint a new board of directors for the institution. However Chief Technical Services Manager of the Lake Victoria South Water Services board Engineer Petronila Ogut will act as the Managing Director for the time being. We will continue making changes as necessary,” she said.
Asked whether she was acting because the media had made reports about those irregularities, Ms Ngilu vehemently denied this.
“Last year in August (three months after I took over office) having gotten a feel of what was happening I caused the EMU to move in and do further investigations for me,” she held.
She also dismissed claims that she had taken too long before taking any action saying she asked for the report in August 2008 but only received it in October this year.
“I got the report on the fifth of October and I have been studying it so as to get concrete evidence before taking any action. I don’t know whether you think that has been too long,” she quipped.
Ms Ngilu, who was addressing a press briefing, also defended the tendering process for the dams that are being constructed in the country saying they were regularly done through the Public Procurement Disposal Act of 2005.
“Those dams are ongoing and in fact last week I inaugurated one at Chemsusu. Work on the dams is still going on,” she said.