By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27
Henry Rotich, Treasury Cabinet Secretary among other top government officials is facing charges over scam linked to two-multipurpose dams projects in the Kenyan Rift Valley.
Arror and Kimwarer dams projects scandals raised public uproars after it emerged that $210 out of $650 million borrowed from external lenders to finance the construction of the two dams was misappropriated, forcing the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to launch the probe.
Preliminary investigations revealed that there is no work going on at the sites despite the fact that the payment had been made to constructors two years ago. Insolvent CMC di Ravenna, an Italian company was paid billions of shillings to commence the construction.
Italian Government-owned insurer, Service Assicurativi Del Comercio Estero (SACE) which was paid $111 million as insurance premium at a rate of 17.5 per cent against the industry rate of 1.5 per cent.
Kenyan companies and individuals were also paid for supply of services and goods for the stalled projects. After months of thorough investigations DPP boss Noordin Haji and his DCI counterpart George Kinoti and a number of law officers flew to Italy in a bid to conclude the investigations.
They spent two weeks in Italy to unravel the truth behind the fraud. While in the European country they met CMC di Ravenna and Service Assicurativi Del Comercio Estero (SACE) officials among other leaders.
The team jetted back in the country over the weekend and on Monday, July 22, Haji ordered the arrest of Henry Rotich alongside 27 others over the loss of the alleged funds.
“Upon the investigations by the DCI, it was established that the conception, procurement and payment process for the Arror and Kimwarer dam projects were riddled with illegalities. The investigations established that the officials flouted procurement rules and abused the oath of office to ensure the scheme went through,” he said.
Haji said the costs of construction was inflated during the signing of the contract between Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA), an implementation agency and CMC di Ravenna noting the Treasury increased the amount by $170 million
“The contract signed between Kenya Valley Development Authority and CMC di Ravenna stated that Kimwarer dam would cost $204 million while Arror dam $252 million,” Haji added.
It has also been discovered CMC di Ravenna submitted draft technical designs in February this year; four years behind schedule.
The suspects are facing 8 counts which include willful failures to comply with applicable procedures relating to procurement, engaging in a project without prior planning, conspiracy to defraud, abuse of office, neglect of official duty, issuing of misleading information, fraudulent acquisition of public property and committing an offence of financial misconduct.
Few hours after the issuance of the order, Rotich surrendered to the DCI headquarters for the interrogation.
The projects were purposed for production of hydro-electricity and irrigation to alleviate perennial challenges of drought, boost food production and increase electricity megawatts to the national grids.