President Uhuru Kenyatta overruled a technical committee that reviewed the controversial Sh22.2 billion Kimwarer dam and cancelled the project, Parliament heard Thursday.
Public Works Principal Secretary Paul Maringa, who chaired the technical committee that assessed the viability of Kimwarer and Arror dam projects in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, told Senators that it only recommended a re-evaluation of the Kimwarer project.
“We did not recommend that the project be cancelled. What we recommended was a re-evaluation of the project given the feasibility study done in 1991 that showed Kimwarer dam lies in a geological fault line,” Prof Maringa told the Senate Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights.
Prof Maringa said the technical committee said it found the Sh25.9 billion Arror dam project technically viable but overpriced.
The President subsequently ordered the cost to be cut to Sh15.4 billion, which would include financing and insurance that had not been factored in the original contract.
“We said there was a need for proper technical assessment, including undertaking of feasibility study on Kimwarer dam for it to be implemented,” Prof Maringa said when he appeared before the committee to respond to a petition filed by residents of Elgeyo-Marakwet through their Senator, Kipchumba Murkomen.
Mr Kenyatta appointed the committee to review the technical aspects of the Arror and Kimwarer dam projects, which handed its report on September 18, 2019.
The President also ordered immediate commencement of the implementation of the Arror with the new design components and cost rationalisation plan as developed by a technical team.
The committee was formed following claims of irregularities and improprieties that have since claimed the careers of ex-Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich and PS Kamau Thugge.
Prosecutors alleged that the two officials, together with managers of the Kerio Valley Development Authority and Italian company CMC di Ravenna colluded to inflate the cost of building the two dams to Sh63 billion, up from Sh46 billion.
day, Prof Maringa told the committee chaired by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei that his committee stepped in to interrogate the projects and provide a way to progress them.,
He said the technical committee did not visit Kimwarer and Arror dam sites because “it was not considered necessary all as the necessary information on the review was available and needed no site verification”.