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DP Ruto Launched A Sh5.3B Irrigation Project That The Water Ministry Didn’t Have An Idea About

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Deputy President William Ruto launching the Lower Trans Nzoia Irrigation Project. Photo|COURTESY

Deputy President William Ruto is on the spot for launching a Sh5.3 billion irrigation project in the western region without involving the appropriate ministries. Water and Sanitation Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu on monday told Parliaments Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the DP did not award them any formal communication ahead of the launch of the Lower Nzoia Irrigation and Flood Mitigation Project.

“There was no contact between the DP’s office and my ministry. I can’t confirm that my CS was contacted because there is nothing in writing,” Mr Irungu said.

PAC also heard that the National Land Commission (NLC) and National Irrigation Board (NIB) were also not involved in the launch. NIB’s chief executive Gitonga Mugambi, and acting NLC chief executive officer Kabale Tache all told PAC that the DP’s office did not contact them. “There was no contact between DP and NIB. I was however present during the launch on instructions by then Principal Secretary Fred Sergor. He instructed me to attend the function,” Mr Mugambi told the The Opiyo Wandayi-led team.

The project which was commissioned prematurely is already facing challenges. The NIB, which is the project implementing agency said they were working with the contractor on a daily basis but NLC had not given them land for the construction to begin. Ms Kabale told PAC that NLC had not completed compensation of affected families in Busia and Siaya Counties as the project was launched while it was undertaking valuation.

Wandayi and Rarieda MP Otiende Amolo asked to know whether government protocol had been breached when Ruto disregarded line ministries to launch such a big project. “Both the CS and his PS must have been given wrong information. The DP was in the area to inspect development projects and not to launch anything,” the DP’s director of Communications David Mugonyi said when contacted.

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PAC also heard that as a result of bypassing ministries the project launch risks stalling and exposing taxpayers to cost escalation. The project, launched in June which covers Ugunja, Alego Usonga and Budalang’i constituencies is aimed at boosting rice production and preventing floods in Busia and Siaya counties.

 


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