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Dark Past Haunts Nairobi Water Manager As He Fights Transfer

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Benedict Kiema Kavua the Procurement Manager of Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company.

The dark past of Benedict Kiema Kavua the Procurement Manager of Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company has caught up with him. He was recently transferred to a different department but rushed to the employment court to reverse the decision making many wonder as to why he would put such a spirited fight against the move yet his new station is not that far.

Word is Kiema is buying time to to coverup suspected corrupt dealings that he allegedly got into while in office. City Hall insiders also claim that the besieged manager has been in the radar of investigative agencies including Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

In a quick rejoinder, Nahashon Muguna, the city water company’s managing director moved to court to stop Kiema’s application saying he had obtained the order blocking his transfer last month by concealing material facts from the court.

Mr Muguna said due to the nature of the company’s mandate and as a matter of policy, it is expected that employees may be transferred or reassigned roles in order to achieve efficiency and optimum performance.

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“It is therefore clear that he (Mr Kavua) did not come to court with clean hands and in a bid to obtain the orders he sought, deliberately failed to disclose this aspect which is material to the matters in question,” Mr Muguna said in a statement filed in court.

Speaking to Kenya Insights, an insider says Kiema’s fears are based on his past questionable deals and that an audit of the accounting books and records would expose him and also the irregular procurement practices he oversaw as supply chain manager.

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“Kiema is literally in trouble since a report on all requests for quotations is required on RFQ register (where bidders sign as they pick), appointments by the MD for opening and evaluation committee, opening minutes, evaluation minutes’ copies of LPOs and professional opinions.” said the source.

Auditor Report

In the auditor general’s report released last year, Nairobi Water lost over Sh10 billion in the financial year ended June 2022 due to faulty water meters, unreconciled financial statements and allowances paid to its staff.

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Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu said the utility firm, which supplies the commodity to city residents, sold a total of 96,404,533 cubic meters of water during the year under review.

This translated to Sh5.63 billion of income using the rate of Sh58.5 per cubic meter. However, the water firm declared an operating income of Sh4.79 billion leading to an undeclared income of Sh848 million.

Ms Gathungu also observed in the report that the water firm failed to declare an extra Sh200 million that was obtained as levy water and sewerage services levy to the customers.

During the year under review, the water firm produced 192,787, 851 cubic meters of treated water but its records understated the volume of water produced by indicating it was 178,526, 912 cubic meters.

This, the auditor general observed, led to a loss of Sh834 million as projected revenue. The report also indicates that the water firm lost up to 50 percent of its projected water sales, which is way above the 25 percent of the non-revenue water threshold that is allowed by the Water Services Regulatory Board.

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Although the official company records indicate the firm produced 178,526, 912 cubic meters of water only 96,404, 533 cubic meters were billed meaning that it lost a Sh9.8 billion according to the auditor general.

The report notes that the volumes lost are inclusive of the water and sewer charges at the rate of Sh102.375 per cubic meter.

Desperation

Word is the embattled manager is disparately asking for money from his friendly suppliers to ‘fight cartels hell bent to oust me from City Hall’ the money he says is needed to ‘handle’ the big case he’s having in court, how he plans to handle it remains unknown.

In his objection, Mr Muguna told the court company has the power to reorganize the company to improve productivity.

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He said Mr Kavua had been in the said management position since 2012 and therefore had 12 years of management experience.

“It is therefore appropriate that his experience in the company should indeed be utilised in other departments and this is in line with best practices where movement of people has yielded better results and eradicated complacency,” he said.

The Managing Director said that there was no arbitrariness or malice in the changes made. Furthermore, there is no major change of location that would cause prejudice if Mr Kavua reported to his new position immediately.

Mr Muguna said in the contract signed in September 2010, it was clear to Mr Kavua that he would be required to serve the company in any part of the county.

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The managing director said Mr Kavua did not protest two years ago when he was transferred from his previous post and place of work to the head office to serve as supply chain manager.

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He said Mr Kavua did not protest but reported to the new post and reported on the same day he signed the letter.

“So I am very surprised to see in his application before this court that he is complaining that he was not given adequate notice when in this case he is not even moving from the head office yet when he moved from the Western Region to the head office he did not protest and in fact reported on the same day the letter was given to him,” he said.

Mr Muguna revealed that the company currently has 33 management positions, of which 28 are substantively filled and another five are in acting capacity. “This shows that it is important to make transfers when deemed necessary,” he said.


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