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Counties

Murang’a Water boss forcefully ejected from office

Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria. Photo | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG
Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria. Photo | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG 

Controversy over the administration of water companies in Murang’a deepened Thursday after the managing director of one of the County's water firms was denied access to his office.

Eng Daniel Ng'ang'a, the MD of Murang'a Water and Sewerage Company (Muwasco), found that the County Executive for Water - Mr Paul Macharia - had occupied his office and changed the locks to doors despite a court order stopping his ejection.

The official, who was last month on the spot over a leaked conversation between him and Governor Mwangi wa Iria, found that his designated vehicle had also been clamped and its tyres deflated.

"I cannot access my office including my personal items. This raid is a contempt of court and all we want is a procedural process by the county government. We cannot allow jungle rule in water affairs," he said today.

Legal tussles

Water firms in the devolved unit have been embroiled in legal battles with the County after Mr Wa Iria dissolved their boards over high water charges and constituted a caretaker committee to oversee their operations.

However, Muwasco and four other water companies moved to court challenging the move while accusing the County boss of a witch hunt.

On Friday, the Murang’a High court suspended Mr Wa Iria's decision pending hearing and determination of the case.

Trouble began in July this year when the Governor began to grumble over high water tariffs charged to Murang'a residents by Muwasco. He then summoned his rival Peter Munga, who heads the company's board, over the matter.

The tycoon, however, snubbed the meeting with Muwasco rushing to court soon after to bar the County from holding any public meeting to discuss water charges.

Not illegal

Earlier in the month the High Court Judge Hatari Waweru had ruled that water is a devolved function and that the governor acted in his mandate when constituting the caretaker committee.

"Water is a devolved unit that falls under the County government and therefore the first respondent did not violate the law when establishing the care taker committee," the judge observed.

Immediately after the ruling, Mr Iria instructed County Executive Member for Water Mr Paul Macharia to relocate to Muwasco's offices and operate from there.

He ordered him to clean up the mess in the company and to make radical changes in the management of water companies in the County.

"Now that the court has confirmed that water is our responsibility, I want Mr Macharia to relocate to Muwasco offices where he is supposed to be operating from by Monday next week. I will support his changes in the management of the boards to enhance the service delivery," he said.

The Governor warned officials from tampering with the company's documents after the court made its ruling saying he would conduct a thorough audit to establish the financial status of the firms.

"I demand a status report from the water companies and no one should try to alter the accounts or documents so as to steal from the companies," he told journalists at Murang'a town.

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