Athi Water Services Board today broke its silence over the Sh1.2 billion Kajiado Rural Water Supply project that was funded by Belgium government.
Eng. Michael Thuita is Athi Water Services CEO.
The board’s CEO, Eng. Michael Thuita, in a written communication stated on Monday evening said the loan agreement was signed between the Belgian and Kenyan governments represented by the Treasury.
Thuita said the cost of project was 12 Million Euros (Sh1.2 billion) and the Belgian government provided their own Belgian contractor (M/S Balteau) to execute the works.
“The contract for the works was signed between the Ministry of Water and the contractor (M/S Balteau). This contract is finance, design and build, and the Athi Water Services Board is required to receive from the contractor finished and functional boreholes,” said Thuita in a statement.
He said the scope of works was and is to drill and equip 50 boreholes, adding that so far only 38 have been drilled and the process to drill the remaining 12 is still ongoing.
The project period was set to be 24 months, Thuita said, adding that a monthly payment to the contractor (M/S Balteau) is being made directly from Belgium.
“No money has been given to Athi Water Services Board. Athi Water was appointed as the implementing agency whose work is only to supervise the works done by the contractor,” he said.
The Athi water board’s role, Thuita said is regular supervision of the works, inspection of completed works and handing over to Kajiado County.
“The borehole sites were provided by Tanathi Water Services Board and the Kajiado County,” Thuita finally said.
Thuita was prompted to react over claims that his board had been given the money as an implementing body of Kajiado rural water supply project.
But even as governor Joseph Lenku insists that there is no single project implemented with the donor money, Athi Water Services confirms that 38 boreholes were actually drilled with a balance of 12 yet to be completed.
Lenku says demand for water has superseded its supply and is demanding accountability of the Sh1.2 billion from Belgium.
Athi Water Services Board promises to name and give location of all the 38 boreholes it claims are completed, and also to provide the number of those handed over to the county government.
The matter of the grant has raised pertinent issues from the public and has subsequently forced Governor Lenku to go public on the said money which was allegedly handed over to unspecified implementing authorities or agencies.
Governor Lenku, 2 weeks ago, reported the matter to Water CS, Simon Chelugui and told him that not even a single water project had been initiated with the money.
Lenku told the CS that soon after he was inaugurated as governor, he was informed that several water projects had been completed under the Belgium government grant of Sh1.2 billion.
“Devolution CS, Eugene Wamalwa who was then serving in the water docket, is my witness in this matter because we both took a chopper to Loitokitok to visit the said projects. The locals had even slaughtered goats for us but we were both shocked to find out that there was not even a single water project to be unveiled. There was story was hot air,” said the governor.
The National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich today on September 28, 2015 said the project once completed will serve over
100, 000 residents of Kajiado County with clean water for domestic use and livestock.
“The government of the Kingdom of Belgium will also support firefighting equipment project for Nairobi City County, Ithanga Water Supply project, Vihiga Water Supply project, Ruaka Water Supply project, phase III of e-Government connectivity project and Nanyuki District Hospital,” Rotich said.
The Cabinet Secretary was speaking today at the National Treasury Nairobi during the signing ceremony of credit agreement with Peter de Crem, the Belgium State Secretary for Foreign Trade.
The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Kenya, Roxane de Bilderling and Senior Kenya Government officials witnessed the loan signing ceremony.
Rotich commended the Kingdom of Belgium for continued financial support to Kenya in form of loans, grants and technical assistance, adding that Kenya’s sectors among them health, water, environment, education and telecommunications have received immense support from Belgium.
He said the continued financial and technical support from Belgium received over the years is in line with Kenya’s government’s development strategy of turning the country into a middle income economy as stipulated in the development blueprint, the Vision 2030.
He expressed optimism that with cordial co-operation with Belgium, the Kenyan government will be able to provide affordable water, health services and improved access to electricity in the rural areas.
“We shall ensure that the resources we receive from development partners are utilized for the intended purpose to strengthen the development cooperation with the development partners for the mutual benefit of Kenyans”, he said.