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Water board differs at MPs probe

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – The controversy surrounding the loss of millions of shillings in the construction of water dams across the country deepened on Tuesday after the board overseeing the construction clashed before a parliamentary committee.

Ten board members of the National Water and Conservation pipeline disowned a report on the status of the construction of five dams which was submitted by Chairman Geoffrey Mung\’orio

The 10 accused Mr Mung\’orio of running the board single handedly and failing to attend a board meeting that was supposed to discuss a report to the committee on the construction process including questions raised over procurement of materials and awarding of contracts.

"What the Chairman is giving this committee is not a report of the committee. Those are his own views," said a director Faith Njeru.

Another Director Joseph Were added: "The management submitted a report to a board meeting which the Chairman had skipped and that is the report we stand with."

Mr Mung\’orio admitted to the committee that he drafted the report alone saying all he did was to put together resolutions of the board.

"I would like to challenge any board member who thinks that all I have put in my report has not been discussed by the board," the Chairman said.

The Chairman of the Committee on Lands and Natural Resources Mutava Musyimi was forced to eject the committee members following the disagreement.

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"You have wasted the time of this honourable committee for the last two weeks. I have no option but to end this meeting," he said.

The committee is probing the possible loss of millions of shillings in the construction and has been holding public hearings over the matter. The Chairman told the committee that the contract for the Sh800 million Umaa Dam was signed with \’inaccurate\’ tendered documents.

The net effect has been that the contractor is now asking for the addition of Sh300 million to cover an escalation of prices way above the 15 percent variation allowed by the law.

Earlier on the Treasury assured that it would in the next three weeks unravel all the directors of \’ghost\’ companies that are alleged to have received payments for the dubious work, inflated bills or undelivered materials.

Financial Secretary Mutua Kilaka assured the committees that officers had chosen to track bank accounts into which the monies were paid to unravel the owners of the companies.

He listed eight companies whose directorship the Treasury was closing in on.

"These are not ghost companies because ghosts cannot hold bank accounts," he said.

Mr Kilaka further informed the committee that only 49 percent of funds under the Kazi Kwa Vijana allocated to the Tanathi Water Company could be accounted for.

He said that about Sh57 million out of the Sh118 million was lost in the process. Mr Kilaka however said that the Treasury had asked the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission to probe the matter.

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