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DCI summons 11 water agency officials over Sh38bn Itare dam scandal

DCI Headquarters in Nairobi. /CFM-FILE.

NAIROBI, Dec 16 – Eleven officials from the Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency (RVWWDA) were set to record statements with police on Monday over a scandal that cost the taxpayer Sh38 billion in a dubious contract to construct Itare dam.

The officials were summoned by Investigating Officer Nephat Marubu of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), in a letter dated December 9, that was addressed to the agency’s Chief Executive Officer.

Those summoned include Chesaina Bartonjo, Lydia Maskonde, David Kinuthia, Christine Ndoigo, Julius Lamaoni, Nemuel Machuki, Ewoi Lochom, Samuel Kaaleng, Engineer Kyengo, Baack Amolo and Yatich David.

DCI Director George Kinoti said the investigations, coming after the grilling of Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui, are at an advanced stage with detectives seeking to establish criminal culpability on officials before a decision is made on possible prosecutions.

Itare dam’s construction was aimed at ending perennial water shortages in South Rift region covering Molo, Kuresoi, Njoro, Rongao, Nakuru town, Kericho and Baringo counties but the project never got to proceed even after the contractor CMC di Ravenna was paid huge amounts from the budgeted amount.

Detectives investigating the case say up to Sh11 billion was paid to the contractor that later filed for bankruptcy in an Italian court.

The project was launched in 2015 and was projected to be completed in 2021.

In July, Henry Rotich, then Finance Minister was charged alongside Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge with abuse of office, neglect of duty among other charges over the Sh63 billion Kimwarer and Arror dams.

They denied charges of abuse of office, breach of procurement laws and regulations among other corruption-related charges.
The two, who have since been relieved of their duties and replaced, were released on Sh15 million cash bail.
Rotich was replaced by Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani on an acting capacity while Thugge’s position was taken up by Dr Julius Muia.
A total of 28 suspects are facing charges in the dams’ scandal.

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