Rotich blames Wakhungu, Githu for dam scandals


Henry Rotich, who was suspended as Treasury Cabinet Secretary over the Kimwarer and Arror dams scandal, at the Milimani Law Courts on November 7, 2019. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Former Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich has shifted the blame of Kimwarer and Arror dams scandals to former Cabinet colleague Judi Wakhungu and former Attorney-General Githu Muigai.

In a petition seeking to quash the charges preferred against him, Mr Rotich says it was unfair and irrational to take him to court yet the projects were entered by the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) with the approval of the parent ministry.

The KVDA was then under Ms Wakhungu, who was the Environment and Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities minister.

Mr Rotich said he received a letter from Ms Wakhungu in March 14, 2016, containing the projects summary reports. The reports included the proposed financing of the two dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County, which was identified during the procurement process.

He said Ms Wakhungu then requested the Treasury to borrow funds on behalf of KVDA. The court documents stated that Public Debt Management Office at the Treasury, reviewed the reports before seeking legal clearance from Prof Muigai, who recommended to him to sign the loan agreements.

Mr Rotich, who has been charged together with former Treasury PS Kamau Thugge and 25 other officials from the ministry as well as KVDA bosses, said his duty was to ensure that that terms and conditions of the agreements, complied with the Treasury requirements.

Others charged are officials of Italian company CMC Di Ravenna, Itinera JV and CMC Di Ravenna and Itinera JV Kenya Branch, some of whom are yet to plead to the charges.

"As such the applicant is embarrassed by these charges because he was not and cannot be involved in the micro-management or procurement process as this would be against the law.

“The decision by the respondents to charge the applicant is therefore irrational, oppressive and unjust," he said.

The government officials were all accused of jointly conspiring to defraud the government of $501,829,769, by entering into a deal to construct the two dams, without approval.

They allegedly committed the offence between December 17, 2014 and January 31, 2019.

Mr Rotich was also accused of procuring loans from BNP Paribas Forties S.A/N.V, Intesa Sanpaolo SPA, Unicredit SPA and Unicredit Bank AG for the development of Kimwarer multipurpose dam. He has also been accused of single-sourcing the insurance policy.

But according to Mr Rotich, he could not be faulted for allegedly engaging in a project without prior planning because the procuring entity was the KVDA and not the Treasury.

He further said he did not have the powers to direct a parent ministry or procuring entity on tender matters.