Educationist Josiah Saoina says troubled Nol-Turesh Company MD Jeremy Mutende, is victim of clan profiling and should be given chance to defend himself. Reports Linet Minayo.
Saoina, while addressing journalists in Isinya after paying a courtesy call to former Olkejuado County Council chairman, Daniel ole Muyaa, said Mutende is a victim of intimidation directed to a particular sub-section of Kajiado Maasai.
“Mutende was profiled, targeted at and hauled out of office for all the wrong reasons because he comes from a section that has been earmarked by certain powerful individuals in government,” said Saoina.
Saoina, who is Turbo Education Sub-County in Uasin-Gishu, said Mutende performed his duties diligently but some members of his staff who are acting on the behest of certain powerful individuals ‘demeaned’ him and ensured his exit.
“Those in leadership should give professionals space to do their jobs and take them to account their mistakes. If Mutende broke any law, why is he moving around scot free, why has he not been arrested if he broke any law by squandering Nol-Turesh funds?’ asked Saoina.
The educationist announced that he will be going for a political seat in 2022 in Kajiado without saying which seat.
Saoina is warming up Is warming up for a political seat and seems to be enjoying support of professionals from all the the clans in the county.
He went on; “I am telling the people of Kajiado to watch this space.” He is a Ph D student at Kabarak University.”
Mutende resigned recently, one day after Nol-Turesh Water Company board ruled out any probe over the Sh60 million alleged scandal on Konza city project spending before its completion.
In a charged emergency board meeting on Wednesday last week, directors said it is “premature” to probe the project as it was not complete.
Noolturesh water company, which draws water from Mt. Kilimanjaro and supplies it to Kajiado, Makueni and Machakos counties, was last week embroiled in allegations of misuse of funds said to have been loaned by Water Services Trust Fund.
On Thursday Mutende last week tendered his resignation letter to his board chairman, Timothy Kerempu, stating reasons why he was quitting.
The letter to the board chairman read in part; “Kindly take this correspondence as my resignation as Managing Director. I have taken this decision after a review of the company’s operations which continue to be frustrated by both internal and external forces”.
“I take pride in bringing this company from shame to fame since I took over in February 2014,” said his letter.
The outgoing MD had said he has been at the centre of revamping the company to provide essential services to the people of the three counties of Kajiado, Makueni and Machakos, “but today is a sad day for me”.
“I step aside to allow any audit to be carried on any aspect regarding the entire operations of the company. We have gone through a lot as a company and I didn’t know our journey to transform Noolturesh will be blocked,” said Mutende.
Mutende said he is saddened by endless efforts made by staff to destabilize the company at the instigation of outsiders.
“As I leave, I urge them to live truly to their service. I wish the board and its management success in their future endeavours,” said Mutende.
On Wednesday Kerempu had said the board is satisfied with the progress of the Konza project but added that it is open to audit queries in how the money was spent.
“Incorrect media reports insinuated the misuse of Sh60 million. This figure is the value of the entire project. Surely, it can’t all be misused yet we are on the last phase of the project, “said Kerempu.
The money had been advanced to the water company by the Konza Technopolis Development Authority to enable it rehabilitate its pipeline and supply water to the upcoming city.
Speaking on the same day Mutende said the corruption allegations were made by forces sabotaging the water company.
“The reckless allegations were made when a few staff had downed their tools over salary arrears. We are working on solving the dispute,” said Mutende.
Kajiado County Water Chief Officer Douglas Konana said the company had to make a 100 per cent rise in revenue collection to remain afloat.
“We have been supporting Nol-Turesh because it has capacity to supply water to a large part of Kajiado County. It must however improve on their revenue collection,” said Konana.
Water boards were set up across the country, around 2010, in reforms that were meant to improve the quality and supply of the product to Kenyans to lift their living standards.
Over the years, many findings of the Water Services Regulatory Board (Wasreb) indicate that most of the millions of shillings being poured into the sector are ending up in the pockets of corrupt individuals.
For almost ten years now various audit reports have pointed fingers on mega corruptions taking place in several water boards across the country.
Tanathi Water Services Board (TWSB) is one of eight similar institutions established under reforms in the sector initiated during the tenure of Ms Martha Karua as minister during former President Mwai Kibaki administration..
It is based in Kitui Town and operates in 32 districts in Eastern province. Under it, are four water service providers — Machakos Water and Sewerage Company, Nol-Turesh, Kiambere-Mwingi and Kathiani Water and Sanitation Company.
Other boards are Rift Valley Water Services Board, Athi Water Services Board, Coastal Water Services Board, Lake Victoria South Water Services Board, Lake Victoria North Water Services Board and Northern Water Services Board.
A report of a regulatory agency published in September 2010 cited duplication of roles between the board and the parent ministry, which makes provision of services and accountability difficult.
Earlier, the report had recommended that boards come up with watertight controls on use of funds, adherence to public procurement guidelines as well as corporate governance.