New Sh77m water project scam stalks embattled Waiguru

Thursday, September 10th, 2020 00:00 |
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru during a past media function at her office. She faces a new storm over a water project in her county. Photo/PD/FILE

On August 30, Regina Mwaura was busy in her workshop in Kerugoya town when she received a telephone call from a number she was not familiar with, asking her to present herself at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) regional offices in Nyeri.

Regina was informed that her company was the subject of investigations into Sh77 million paid to the firm in a water project tender.

Investigators from the commission told her they had unearthed massive corruption in project tenders by the Kirinyaga County government, one of which was awarded to her company.

EACC was investigating circumstances under which her company, Lewis Supplies, was paid Sh77 million for the Mwea/Makima water project.

Regina was dumbfounded. Though her company had tendered for that particular project, she was not aware of any award of tender or payment.

According to Regina, her company never received a cent, with the money having been diverted to a different bank account.

EACC officials last year raided Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru’s office and after forensic examination they found Lewis Supplies listed as having won the water tender and initiated investigations.

“On September 3, I was summoned by EACC investigators to their Nyeri regional office where I was interrogated and asked how my company won the tender,” she said.

“I was shocked to see documents indicating my company had won a Sh77 million tender CGK/OT/038/2017/2018 Mwea/Makima project and paid the money in full.

This was very strange since my company wasn’t pre-qualified in the tendering process.”

According to Regina, the company documents she had submitted for pre-qualification were the same in the file but the bank account had been changed.

Never won tender

Regina told People Daily that she informed EACC investigators that as far she was concerned she never won the tender and her documents were fraudulently obtained and used to siphon money from the county government.

“This is pure theft of public money. My company has not done any water project and I have informed the investigators all what I know and pleaded with them to ensure those who used my company to steal from the public are punished,” she said.

An investigator who spoke to People Daily on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said they were alarmed that the company was given a tender for a project already completed in 2017 during the tenure of Governor Joseph Ndathi.

Efforts to reach Waiguru last evening were futile. 

The project, which is meant to supply water to more than 30,000 residents of Mwea constituency, had originally been awarded to Tonilo Builders Limited at a cost of Sh77 million.

Anthony Karanja, a director of Tonilo, his company had already done 95 per cent of the work and what was remaining was installation of electricity at the water treatment site.

He revealed that he was paid Sh40 million by Governor Ndathi’s government for the work and was awaiting the balance which is yet to be paid.

“We had done about 95 per cent of the work; we had completed piping, intake construction and the remaining work was to install electricity which we had applied for at Kenya Power.”

He said that when the Waiguru administration came into office he was surprised to learn that his company had been pushed out of the project and the work assigned to a different contractor.

“Our efforts to be paid the remaining Sh37 million has been frustrated by the county government.

We are told we are not even among companies waiting to be paid. Our project is classified as stalled yet it is ongoing,” he told People Daily.

Contacted, regional EACC coordinator Charles Rasugu said detectives had started investigations into the controversial tender.

“We are seized of the matter and investigations are ongoing,” said Rasugu but declined to comment further.

Area MCA Gurdison Muchina termed Regina’s revelation as “very strange” and urged the anti-graft agency to ensure those involved were brought to book.

“The project was almost complete and to hear it was paid an additional Sh77 million is very shocking.

Those who have fraudulently used the company to steal from the public must be punished,” he said.

Muchina said they launched the project on March 28, 2019, together with Governor Waiguru but he was unaware of allegations of corruption in the matter.

 “This are some of the issues which were hidden from us during the impeachment motion.

The country can now see how this county administration is corrupt and the governor should be shown the door,” he said.

Waiguru in June survived an impeachment motion against her. This is after the Senate dismissed the motion seeking to remove her from office on grounds of abuse of office and gross misconduct.

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