The Star (Nairobi)

7 August 2012

Kenya: Theft Threatens Kisumu Multibillion Water Project

LACK of sufficient security in Kisumu has been cited as a major stumbling block to the construction of a water supply system. Prime Minister Raila Odinga commissioned the multibillion water treatment plant in June. The project is being undertaken by a Chinese construction company and is jointly funded by the French Development Agency and the Kenyan Government.

The Chinese construction company has sent a letter to new Nyanza police boss Joseph Ole Tito to intervene and ensure security of their property. In the letter dated August 1, 2012 by Li Junchao, which was also copied to MPs Shakeel Shabbir and Olago Aluoch, the officer says the police have not delivered any report to the company concerning the loses they have incurred in line of duty.

The letter that is also copied to the Lake Victoria South Water Services board states that: "On December 3, 2011, men posing as drivers asked by an engineer to pick him up from the airport deceived the guards and stole a pickup." It further states that one of the guards suggested to the men to go with them to the airport and since then "the man and the vehicle KBP 685V have disappeared, case OB number 19/14/01/2012 Central police station in Kisumu.

On April 6, 2012, the transport manager was robbed of another company vehicle by armed gunmen. The case involving the vehicle KBP 629V was reported to Kondele police station case OB number 62/6/4/2012 according to the letter to the Nyanza Provincial police boss.

The last incident took place on July 25, 2012 at round 9:30pm when a Mark 2 vehicle KBN 875J was stolen from a parking lot within the town and was reported to Central police station case OB number 104/25/7/2012. "The issues among many minor ones are scaring our staff members and we feel that either we are purposely being targeted by a group or some other reason," concluded the letter.

Nyanza police boss Joseph Ole Tito yesterday confirmed having received the letter and said he has instructed officers handling the cases to step up investigations. "I am waiting for their report and will offer a swift reaction so that we restore confidence in the company to continue offering their services," said the police boss.

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