Senate probes water agency for releasing Sh5b to unlisted firms

Tuesday, April 16th, 2024 02:18 | By
Senator Mohamed Chute. PHOTO/Print
Senator Mohamed Chute. PHOTO/Print

The Senate has commenced investigation into how the Water Sector Trust Fund (WSTF) allegedly disbursed Sh5.9 billion to water service providers not registered and some questionable firms.

Senate’s Land, Environment and Natural Resources Committee is seeking to establish the amount of cash the agency has received since inception and how the resources have been utilised over the years in various water bodies.

This is after Senator Mohamed Chute (Marsabit), sought answers from the Land’s Committee on all projects undertaken by the agency, status of completion and exact locations where the projects are.
In a statement tabled before the House, Chute wants to know the process used in tendering for multi-billion projects in the water sector across the country.

“Committee should state the total amount of funds WSTF received from the government and donors,” said Chute.

Committee, led by Nyandarua Senator John Methu, will also seek to establish a breakdown of how the funds were utilised over the years.

“Committee should provide an update on the status of the projects advertised by the Trust Fund to be undertaken in Moyale, Laisamis and North Horr constituencies in Marsabit,” noted Chute.

In October last year, Senate County Public Investments and Special Funds Committee (CPISFC) put management of the fund on the spot after it emerged that the agency disbursed Sh5.9 billion to some 79 companies not registered as public water service providers.

During the probe, it was established that some of the companies have had adverse audit queries for several financial years, casting doubts on the agency’s financial position.

CPISFC chairman Godfrey Osotsi said there is a company in Marsabit that does not even have books of account yet were given Sh38 million.

The funds, which were mainly secured from the World Bank, were disbursed in 2020-21 and 2021-22 Financial Years.

“You gave money to all WSPs in what contradicts the position that you do the governance checks. Why would you pump Sh5.9 billion into institutions which have damning audit queries?” posed Osotsi.
Committee further established that some of the companies that benefited lacked substantive managing directors, finance managers and even boards to oversee utilisation of the funds.

WSTF chief executive Willis Ombai, appearing before CPISFC alongside the agency’s board chairman, said the funds were disbursed to registered and State-owned water companies.

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