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Economy

Italian firm in Sh21bn dams scandal fails to surrender vehicles in debt row

Itare Dam site
Ongoing construction at Itare Dam site in Kuresoi South, Nakuru County on July 26, 2018. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

An Italian firm at the centre of the Sh21 billion dams’ scandal, CMC di Ravenna, has breached a High Court order to surrender equipment and 98 vehicles to a Nakuru yard following a debt row with Barclays Bank of Kenya #ticker:BBK.

The court agreed to a deal where the firm will surrender the equipment and vehicles to Casuarina Limited by Wednesday.

A visit by the Business Daily on Thursday revealed that CMC di Ravenna had not complied with the order, setting the stage for a contempt suit.

“Since Monday I have not seen any vehicle or machinery being brought to this place,” said a source at Casuarina who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Barclays Bank is pursuing a Sh585 million debt and moved to seize the property fearing that the firm may transfer them abroad or sell.

Construction

CMC di Ravenna abandoned the multibillion-shilling Itare Dam in Nakuru and failed to commence construction of the Sh61 billion Arror and Kimwarer dams in Elgeyo-Marakwet County.

The seized vehicles and equipment were intended for use in the scandal-hit dams, which have become the focus of criminal investigations by detectives.

Detectives have been pursuing officials of the company and some Kenyan bureaucrats after it emerged that CMC di Ravenna and an Italian insurance company received over Sh21 billion as part-payment for the construction of the two dams.

Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) detectives are also investigating allegations that Kenyan officials were bribed to ensure that money was released to CMC di Ravenna for the dam projects.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich was grilled for three days at DCI headquarters on Kiambu Road earlier this month over the controversial payments.

Timely construction of Itare dams looks unlikely. Nakuru leaders have written to the national government seeking an urgent resolution of the stalemate behind the stalled dam.

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