President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered a stop to the construction of the controversial Ksh 22.2 billion Kimwarer Dam in Elgeyo Marakwet county after a technical committee established that no current reliable feasibility study had been conducted on the dam project.
According to a report presented to the President on Wednesday, the only feasibility study carried out on a similar project 28 years ago had revealed a geological fault across the 800-acre project area, which would have negative structural effects on the proposed dam.
The team had been tasked with establishing the viability of the Kimwarer and Arror dam projects following the discovery of irregularities and improprieties surrounding the two infrastructure projects.
At its formation, the President tasked the committee chaired by Infrastructure Principal Secretary Prof Paul Maringa to assess the viability of the two dam projects and report to him within 30 days. Other members were Quantity Surveyor Julius Matu, Eng Benjamin Mwangi and Eng John Muiruri.
In the course of their assignment, the Technical Committee reviewed the designs, technical sustainability and financial proposals of both dams.
However, a statement by State House spokesperson Kanze Dena-Miraro said the team established that the Kimwarer Dam was overpriced and that the project is neither technically nor financially viable.
Need to compensate displaced residents
The Technical Committee also established that the project area is settled and would require compensation of displaced residents.
According to the technical design of the Kimwarer Dam, the water supply mechanism would involve pumping, an aspect the Technical Committee found to be unsustainable in terms of operations and maintenance costs.
Further, the Technical Committee established that the pumping would make the project financially unsustainable in the long run.
Therefore, the Technical Committee recommended to the President that the Kimwarer Dam project be discontinued.
On the Arror Multipurpose Dam, after a detailed technical review, the Technical Committee was satisfied that the project is economically viable but noted that it was overpriced.
As such, the committee recommended to the President a cost rationalisation plan that will ensure the project is implemented cost effectively without affecting its performance and out put.
Arror dam project to be modified
As part of the cost rationalization plan, the Technical Committee has prepared a new Bills of Quantities (BQ) for a modified dam with its height scaled down to 60 metres from the original design height of 96 metres which was found to be unviable.
The optimised dam will be technically viable since it will only require about 250 acres of land and cost Ksh 15.4 billion with power and Ksh 13.1 billion without power. The dam was previously estimated to cost Ksh 28.3 billion.
Dena said the President has accepted the report on the two dam projects and directed the immediate cancelation of the Kimwarer Dam project which was found to be technically and financially not feasible by the Technical Committee;
Implementation of the Arror Multipurpose Dam project will, however, commence immediately with the new design components and cost rationalisation plan as developed by the Technical Committee.
The saga surrounding the two projects saw Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and his PS Kamau Thugge alongside 10 other government officials arraigned in court in July to face multiple charges including abuse of office, conspiracy to commit an economic crime, conferring a benefit and single-sourcing for the insurance of the projects, and approving payment contrary to the law.
DPP ordered 28 individuals prosecuted over scandal
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji had ordered the prosecution of 28 individuals, among them officials from the National Treasury, Ministry of East Africa Community, National Environment Management Authority, Kerio Valley Development Authority and Inspectorate of State Corporations for allegedly conspiring to steal over Ksh 17 billion. They denied charges and were released on Ksh 50 million bond.
East African Community PS Susan Koech, Kerio Valley Development Authority managing director Kipchumba Kimosop, KVDA acting MD Francis Kipkech,Treasury chief economist Kennedy Nyachiro and Treasury director of resource mobilisation Jackson Kinyanjui were also prosecuted.
Others were Inspector General of State Corporations Titus Muriithi, KVDA head of supply chain William Kipkemboi, Paul Serem (manager, engineering services), Francis Chepkonga, Samuel Kimutai, David Juma, Patrick Kiptoo, Elizabeth Kebenei and Esther Kiror of the tendering committee as well as Italian contractor, CMC di Ravenna, and its directors.
However, Deputy President William Ruto and his allies have long held that the prosecutions were political. He also disputed the amount of money lost leading to a showdown with ODM leader Raila Odinga.
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