EDITORIAL: Dam payments shameful

Itare Dam site
Itare Dam site. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A parliamentary committee has raised the alarm that up to Sh38 billion could be lost in advance payments for dam projects covering five contracts awarded to foreign companies.

They are either yet to start, are moving much too slowly, have stalled or they have been terminated. The problem is that the billions of shillings already paid may not be recovered, meaning that taxpayers will, once again, lose out because public officials failed to exercise duty of care.

Itare, Karimenu II, Badasa, Umaa, and Thwake are some of the affected dams. Others about which concerns have been raised are Chemususu and Northern Collector Tunnel. Besides losing large sums of money, taxpayers face the additional burden of having to do without the water services that these dams promised.

How such contractors are selected, payments made but monitoring ignored to the extent of losing a fortune in such key projects is the question the government must answer as clearly as possible.

It is unacceptable that these dam scandals are becoming too common at a time when Kenya boasts advanced skills and useful international collaborations with independent organisations that should shepherd such deals to fruition.