House team sum­mons ir­ri­ga­tion board of­fi­cials over ‘failed projects’

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics -

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.

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