- Auditor General Nancy Gathungu, in the latest audit, had flagged a possible loss of Sh147.7 million that was supposed to be spent on promoting bamboo
- Tanui said Gathungu has over the years subjected the project to audits and no adverse opinion has ever been expressed
The Kenya Water Towers Agency has clashed with the office of the Auditor General over alleged of misappropriation of Sh147.7 million in a bamboo project.
KWTA CEO Julius Tanui said no money has been lost in the project.
“The money has been expanded in the implementation of various project components, including feasibility studies, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment. This is in addition to public participation, surveys, demarcation and fencing,” he said.
Tanui said some money was used to conduct capacity building, create bamboo stock and establish community bamboo nurseries.
Conducting hydrological surveys, borehole drilling and equipping, site-species matching were other activities.
Auditor General Nancy Gathungu, in the latest audit, had flagged a possible loss of Sh147.7 million that was supposed to be spent on promoting bamboo.
She said KWTA injected the money to establish a national bamboo-growing demonstration center at Kaptagat Forest in Elgeyo Hills in the 2018–19 financial year.
“The site was to be used for the production of bamboo seedlings and to serve as a community learning center. However, the audit revealed that the site was neglected and had minimal activity towards establishing a bamboo demonstration center,” Gathungu said.
"This is despite the agency utilising approximately Sh147.7 million between 2017-18 and 2021-22 towards the establishment of the bamboo enterprise.”
Tanui said KWTA in the financial year 2017–2018 received Sh13,466,955 and Sh103,877,123 in 2018–2019 financial year.
He said In 2019-2020 financial year, the agency received Sh 16,954,896, Sh6,030,500 in 2020–2021 and Sh7,376,281 in 2021–22 financial year.
Tanui said the whole amount was not meant for bamboo project only.
He said the project is a nationwide intervention covering several projects sites in eight counties.
Some of the sites include Kaptagat forest block in Uasin Gishu and Elgeiyo Marakwet, Kibirong wetland in Nandi, Nyatike catchment in Migori and Aberdares water tower in Nyeri and Nyandarua and South West Mau in Narok and Bomet.
Tanui said the office of the auditor general has over the years subjected the project to audits and no adverse opinion has ever been expressed.
“However, on 10th November 2023, KWTA CEO received a letter from EACC, asking the agency to provide documents and information on National Bamboo Growing Demonstration Centre at Kaptagat Forest,” he said.
Tanui said his office will comply with the request from EACC.
“On alleged suspension of the CEO and the Finance Manager by KWTA board of directors, the matter is actively before the board,” he said.
KWTA is implementing the 10-year Bamboo Commercialisation and Investment project funded by the government and financed under community livelihood improvement project.
The project's aim is to reduce pressure on water tower ecosystems.
The audit further reveals that the agency’s efforts to promote honey production as an alternative livelihood among the communities living adjacent to forest recorded poor results.
“Out of the 1,135 beehives distributed by the agency to eight groups spread across five water towers in the audit sample, 665 were inspected and revealed colonisation in only 93 hives, representing 14 per cent colonisation rate,” Gathungu said.
She said the beneficiary groups were issued with both beehives and honey processing tools and equipment.
However, only one out of the eight groups had established a honey processing factory.
Gathungu said challenges experienced by beneficiaries included pest infestation, lack of skills on apiary management and poor location of apiaries.
The audit said similar observation of low success rates were made in the charcoal briquette enterprises intervention in Maasai Mau block.
She said physical inspection revealed that the briquette enterprises was small in scale and would not have economic impact on beneficiaries.
“Further, interaction with group members revealed that the agency did not provide them with mechanical crusher, despite being critical for large scale production. In addition, the group members were not trained on charcoal briquette making, which led to production of poor-quality briquettes,” Gathungu said.
This, the audit shows, limited the production of briquette to members own household consumption.
It attributed inadequacies in alternative community livelihood interventions to inadequate capacity building of beneficiary groups.
Failure to provide them with technical assistance and lack of monitoring by the agency were other reasons.