Kiunjuri graft dossier now with Parliament

November 4, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 4 – Former Water and Irrigation Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri has taken his fight against alleged corruption at the ministry to Parliament, petitioning a departmental committee to conduct an independent inquiry.

Mr Kiunjuri on Thursday presented the Departmental Committee on Environment and Mineral Resources with a bundle of documents showing a pattern of favouritism and outrageous inflation of prices of goods and services procured by the ministry.

He alleges that there is deep rooted corruption in the tendering and procurements procedures by officials at the ministry, with goods and services inflated by an average of 328 percent.

"Sandpaper for example was being procured at Sh280 while you could get the same at Sh10. This is an inflation of 1,363 percent," he said.

"Hacksaw handles were being quoted at Sh1200, the same that can be bought at Sh150."

Mr Kiunjuri said he had been raising issues on procurement of services at the Ministry and the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation since January this year, after he got suspicious but his queries went answered.

"Whenever I raised issues with the Minister and the Permanent Secretary it was surprising I was never called for the follow-up meetings," he said.

The Assistant Minister who was recently moved to the Public Works docket told the committee he decided to conduct his own investigations on the matter and was shocked by the findings.

He accused the corporation of awarding one company tenders to construct three dams at the same time while two engineers were consulted to oversee a similar number of dams as experts and engineers simultaneously.

"How lucky can one Kenyan be to get three jobs at the same time?" he posed.

Mr Kiunjuri says his attempts to get justification of the awarding of tenders from the Permanent Secretary and the management of the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation bore no fruits.

"The tenders may look small but if you look at them closely you will be surprised at the millions of shillings Kenyans have lost," he said.

"I have no confidence that the Ministry and the Executive could audit this properly."

Mr Kiunjuri on Tuesday presented the dossier to the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission for action.

The Laikipia East MP further expressed fears that most of the companies which were awarded tenders to supply materials to the parastatal could as well be fictitious or briefcase outfits.

He said he conducted a search at the registrar of companies and most of the companies quoted could not be traced.

"Out of 31 companies, only two are registered with the registrar. This committee needs to verify this," he said.

The water sector has been battling with corruption claims in the recent past. A report by the Water Services Regulatory Board has raised issues similar to those brought up by the Assistant Minister.


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