House team orders audit on Sh1b dams construction
Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
A National Assembly committee has ordered for a special audit on the procurement and construction of small dams and water pans worth Sh1 billion in various parts of the country.
It wants an audit carried out on the dams and pans allegedly constructed in Northern Kenya, former Coast, Eastern and parts of Rift valley provinces worth Sh1 billion.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) wants the office of the Auditor General to establish whether there was value for money in the transaction after former Auditor General Edward Ouko said he could not verify and confirm the expenditure.
At a meeting with Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu, PAC chairperson Opiyo Wandayi said his team will seek audience with National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to know the way forward owing to the fact that a substantive Auditor General is yet to be appointed after Ouko’s term ended.
“We have ordered the office of the Auditor General to carry out a special audit on these water pans and dams to determine whether there was value for money in the transaction,” he said.
The decision to order for the special audit comes after Irungu in his response to the committee, confirmed that although the feasibility, design reports and drawings of the water pans are available, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was not undertaken for phase I of the exercise.
Wandayi said the move is necessary because most of the water pans, sand dams and sub-surface dams that formed the majority of the projects are of low risk by their design and use as recognised by the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA) of 1999.
Irungu also confirmed that cost benefit analysis’s of rehabilitating the existing water pans relative to constructing new ones was not done as the majority of the dams were constructed on new sites.
“In areas with old dams, the communities during public consultation preferred construction of new facility and were reluctant to drain existing ones,” he added.
Last year the committee visited the said dams after there were complaints that the projects were non-existent despite government pumping billions of shillings in to it.
The decision to order for a special audit comes in the wake of revelations by Auditor-General’s office it could not verify the existence of the project as the State department for agriculture did not provide an inventory of all the water pans and small dams indicating their physical location, the contractor, when they were constructed ad their status in the 2017/18 financial year,.
In addition, the ministry also failed to provide technical reports such as feasibility and hydrological studies that were carried out before commencement of the works.
Further contracts entered into were not dated and there was no evidence of individual evaluation score sheets of each contract for both technical and financial evaluation.
Of the Sh1 billion, the office of the Auditor General said it could not confirm the expenditure of Sh865.3 million for the year ended June 30, 2018.