NYAHURURU, Kenya, Aug 27 – The High Court has halted further payment of the agreed Sh50 million to an Israel-based company to draw a water master plan for the Nyandarua County Government.
This is after two residents Simon Sambigi and Naphatali Mungai Mureithi moved to the High Court in Nairobi to challenge the payments citing massive procurement irregularities in the deal.
High Court Judge George Odunga issued conservatory orders restraining the county government from paying a further Sh25 million to the Tahal International Group of companies to draw a water master plan for Nyandarua as well as designing a review for Ol-Kalou sewerage system.
The county government had earlier paid Sh25 million upfront to the company, a move that elicited anger and protest from residents and a section of leaders.
The controversial deal also caused major differences between Governor Daniel Waithaka and his deputy John Mwangi Kirika as the latter opposed the deal terming it illegal.
The Auditor General’s report has also questioned the deal citing loss of public money.
Sambigi and Mungai sued the county government, the County Executive Committee member (CEC) in charge of Water and Natural Resources Grace Gitonga and the CEC in charge of Finance and Planning Nderi Ndiani.
They argued that the respondents had contravened the Public Procurement and Disposal Act since there was no tendering process that was done for the company to be awarded the tender.
“This is an illegality that was committed in the whole process and we read insincerity in the whole deal. We wonder the criteria used to give the company the tender,” read the affidavit.
They accused Governor Waithaka of ignoring professional advise that the deal was illegal and wondered why he went ahead to sign the deal two days later after the advise.
The affidavit also questions why the agreement was not made public despite requests by the second applicant.
This, they argue contravened the right by the public to get information from public offices.
In his ruling, Justice Odunga ordered that the county government halts further payments until the case is heard inter parties in the Nakuru High Court on September 3.
The development comes three weeks after the Nyandarua County Assembly gave the executive the go ahead to pay the remaining amount giving it a clean bill of health.
The report to the Assembly submitted by Ndaragwa Central Ward MCA Peter Mwangi Kagwe had asked the executive the go ahead to pay the remaining Sh25 million for the work to go on citing no illegalities.