The genesis of the ongoing Sh63 billion Kimwarer and Arror dams scandal has hit a notch after Italian firms claimed that the projects were politicised with intentions of terminating the project.
In September 2019,President Uhuru Kenyatta overruled its recommendations and cancelled the project that had already used up Sh22 billion of its contract sum of Sh63 billion.
To obstruct Deputy President William Ruto’s pursuit for the 2022 general elections, Cooperative Muratori and Cementisti -CMC Di Ravenna Societa Cooperativa (Italy), Itinera S.P.A and CMC Di Ravanna- Itinera JV S.C.P.A cited that the tender for the construction of the two dams was cancelled.
In awarding the tenders, Ruto maintained that the due process had been followed.
“We are constructing Thiba dam in Kirinyaga, Kariminu, Thwake, Arror and Kimwarer dams whose processes are competent since it’s our duty as government to protect public resources and get value for every shilling we are spending. Where are those saying that Sh21 billion has been lost in the Arror-Kimwarer dam getting the information from? The payments that has been made is Sh7 billion, which is not lost because we have a bank performance guarantee and if the contractor does not deliver, we shall cash the guarantee and public resources will be protected,” he said.
Based on press reports, the Italian firms said they can confirm that they fell victim to a political struggle between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ruto.
They stated that the political struggle explains why a joint venture of engineering and construction companies, with an impressive track record of major works worldwide, was entangled in criminal proceedings in Kenya.
“…charged with conspiring with no less a State entity (KVDA), a Kenyan ministry (Treasury) and possible even with international first-rate banks and Italian credit agency,” stated the firms.
According to the Italian firms, it was not until 2019, two years after the conclusion of the contracts, that investigations pointed at a number of alleged illegalities in connection with the projects.
They maintained that they were not involved in any irregularity and all that they did was to tender for the two contracts in compliance with the tender instructions issued by the Kerio Valley Development Authority(KVDA).
The cancellation of the project brought about a public spat between politicians claiming the careers of former Treasury CS Henry Rotich and his PS Kariuki Thugge.
Recently, Rotich has been charged afresh over the multi-billion shillings Arror and Kimwarer dams graft scandal.
Rotich with four others were charged with conspiracy to defraud, wilful failure to comply with procurement laws, engaging in a project without prior planning, abuse of office and committing an offence of financial misconduct.
The fresh charges comes after the prosecution amended the charge sheet and removed the names of former Principal Secretaries Kamau Thugge and Susan Koech who had been charged alongside Rotich.
“Evidence in the case remains the same and no new documents or witnesses shall be adduced during the case,” stated the prosecution.
Thugge and Koech will now be a key prosecution witness in the case to testify against his Rotich.