House team summons irrigation board officials over ‘failed projects’
The suspended management of the National Irrigation Board has been summoned by the National Assembly Public Investments Committee to explain alleged financial impropriety.
The probe comes after Turkana residents petitioned the assembly to investigate the board’s operations. They said all the projects launched in the county have been abandoned, posing serious threats to them and their animals.
Yesterday, the Star learned that the board’s suspended general manager Daniel Baraza, his deputy Mary Chomba and procurement and supplies manager Boaz Akello are required before the committee from next week. “You are required to respond to issues raised by the petitioners,” a letter from the House clerk officials reads.
Baraza is expected on Wednesday next week, with Chomba and Akello appearing later. The three were suspended early this year over accusations of serious misconduct, procurement irregularities and financial mismanagement.
An intervention by Water CS Eugene Wamalwa (pictured) to overturn the suspension was rejected by former board chairman Sammy Latema, who has been moved to the Kenya Forestry Research Institute in the same capacity. The committee is also investigating circumstances under which contractors abandoned their work on projects across the country, despite funds being made available. It wants to know when the works will resume. Already, the multibillion-shilling Galana- Kulalu Irrigation Scheme, which seeks to irrigate one million acres at the Coast could collapse.