Kenya: Dam Projects Costing Govt More Than They Should - Report

A deserted construction site at Itare Dam in Kuresoi South, Nakuru County on October 9, 2018.
20 October 2019

A parliamentary committee has warned that the government risks not getting value for the Sh120 billion invested in the construction of eight dams across the country.

It has emerged that some of the projects are way behind schedule while others stalled after the contractors pulled out, despite having been paid billions of shillings.

A report by the National Assembly Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, tabled in the House last Thursday, recommended a raft of measures, including special audits of some of the dams as well as their financing models.

The committee chaired by Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki questioned use of the Engineer Procure Construct and Finance (EPCF) financing model, saying it was unnecessarily expensive.

FINANCING MODEL

The team chaired by Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki questioned use of the Engineer Procure Construct and Finance (EPCF) financing model, saying it was unnecessarily expensive.

For instance, it notes that the amounts paid in insurance for the dams' construction under the model were exorbitant, compared to other financing models.

"This model is, therefore, prone to abuse and value for money may not be efficiently realised," the report to be debated by MPs says.

The Sh29 billion Itare dam in Nakuru County, that stalled after the contractor, Italian firm CMC di Ravenna, was declared bankrupt, is among those financed using the model.

The construction began in June, 2016, and was due to end by July 2022 but has since stalled.

THWAKE DAM

The Sh36.97 billion Thwake multipurpose dam in Makueni County was meant to provide water for hydropower generation, irrigation and domestic use and was financed by a loan from Africa Development Bank.

It is situated at the confluence of Thwake and Athi rivers but the water from the Athi River feeding into the dam is highly polluted, making it unfit for domestic use.

Only seven percent of the work has been done, although China Gezhouba Group Company Limited has already received a Sh7.4 billion advance payment.

The Sh23.6 billion Karimenu II dam in Kiambu County is also facing challenges.

The committee wants the Auditor-General's office to investigate the circumstances under the Athi Water Works Development Agency and AVIC International signed agreements, with advance payments made before the necessary land was acquired.

OTHER PROJECTS

Construction of the Sh14 billion Mwache Dam in Kwale County was supposed to start at the beginning of this year but was hampered by delays in compensation of more than 4,000 affected people.

Badasa Dam in Marsabit County was meant to augment Bakuli water supply, which serves Marsabit town and its environs.

It was started in June, 2009 and was scheduled to take 30 months but has stalled, with 57 percent of the work completed.

Construction of the Sh6.83 billion Northern Collector Tunnel, which began in February 2015 and was to be completed in December has also stalled.

"The human resource was not commensurate with the advance payment made, leading to slow progress of works," the report says.

The committee wants the perpetrators prosecuted for loss of public funds through idle time if culpability is found.

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