VETTING

Kimwarer, Arror dams ghosts haunt Uhuru's NCIC nominee

He chaired the KVDA board during the inception of the projects

In Summary

• Nominee admits to having played part in approving the multi-billion contract but maintained the board issued appropriate advice to the government on its feasibility. 

• MPs question his integrity saying he should not take up a new job with the baggage of scandalous projects.  

Nominated MP Maina Kamanda at his home in Ol Kalou
Nominated MP Maina Kamanda at his home in Ol Kalou
Image: NDICHU WAINAINA

The ghosts of the Sh68 billion Kimwarer and Arror dams scandal now stand between President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nominee and a plum job at the National Cohesion and Integration Commission. 

Former Kerio Valley Development Authority board chairman Samuel Kona–the Board which approved the two scandal-ridden projects–was at pains to explain his role in awarding the contracts that led to the loss of billions in the project. 

Kona served as the chairman of KVD board from 2013 to last year and oversaw the project now under investigation from inception to awarding contracts. 

Appearing before the National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity committee chaired by nominated MP Maina Kamanda, Kona admitted to having played part in approving the multi-billion contract but maintained the board issued appropriate advice to the government on its feasibility.

He also admitted to having been investigated by DCI officers over the twin-dams scandal but was quick to absolve himself and the board from any wrongdoing.

“There was no money that was lost when I was chairman of KVDA. The board has no role in the issuance of contracts and as a matter of fact, I did not sign any contract. I am confident as a board we provided the necessary leadership.”

MPs Ong’ondo Were (Kasipul), Julius Mawathe (Embakasi South), Gathiru Mwangi (Embakasi Central) and Stephen Mule (Matungulu) questioned Kona’s integrity to take up the new position with Kimwarer and Arror baggage hanging on his neck.

“One of the issues coming from KVDA where you served is issuing of contract for Kimwarer and Arror dams. You were the director; the country has lost billions of shillings thanks to the contract that you signed as a board. What makes you feel you are fit for this job?” Mawathe asked.

Ong’ondo asked, “With all these admissions, where is your integrity as far as this job is concerned. Do you still think that you have integrity for this job?”  

NCIC nominees Samuel Kobia (chairman), Philip Okundi, Peris Nyutu, Abdulaziz Ali Farah, Danvas Makori, Fatuma Tabwara and Dorcas Kedogo also appeared before the vetting committee. 

Okundi and Kona, according to communication from KRA, were not tax-compliant, claims the two denied tabling their Tax Compliant Certificate to the House team. 

Last month, the Lands committee rejected nomination of former Isiolo Woman Representative Tiya Galgalo to the National Land Commission on account of tax compliance. This was, however, was overturned by the House after getting clearance from the taxman.

Embakasi South MP Mawathe took on former Rangwe MP Philip Okundi over his advanced age and why he should be considered instead of millions of unemployed qualified youths.

“Your date of birth is captured as May 5, 1941, that makes you 78 years old. You saw the cry from youth on recycling the older generation yet there are young people who can take up the position. You have been working for 53 years. When do you think it is enough and give the opportunity to the young?" 

But Okundi disputed his date of birth as captured in his national ID saying no one knows when he was born and he arbitrarily chose on 1941 for the sake of sitting examinations.

“I am not 78. In those days nobody knew when you were born. To do exams you had to issue a date and that is the date I gave,” Okundi explained.

Nyuttu who was the brain behind the popular Warembo Na UhuRuto in 2017 had a difficult time explaining why she has not resigned from Jubilee party even after applying for the new job.

Abdulaziz, who served as Mandera East lawmaker in the last Parliament, was put on the spot over the Auditor General’s 2014-15 report which pointed to possible misappropriation of millions of NG-CDF cash under his watch. 

The former lawmaker in response accused the auditors of demanding fat bribes from him in exchange for a favourable report. 

Edited by R.Wamochie