Senate invites EACC to probe suspected graft in Kitui water firm

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 30 Jun, 2023 09:07 | 2 mins read
Senate asks EACC to probe suspected water graft in Kitui County
Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) offices in Nairobi. PHOTO/EACC/Facebook

The Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) has been invited to probe allegations of fraud in the Kitui Water and Sanitation Company (KITWASCO).

EACC confirmed on Friday that the request came from the Senate Committee on County Public Investments and Special Funds, which is currently questioning governors over mismanagement of water firms ran by counties.

According to the anti-graft body, the committee had established that the Kitui water company is facing insolvency despite the County Government pumping between Ksh8 - 10 million into the company every month.

Currently, the firm is reportedly struggling to clear a Ksh500 million debt.

"The ownership of the water company is said to be in private hands despite being a county public investment," EACC said.

The revelations were made by Kitui Governor Julius Malombe when he appeared before the Senate committee on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, to respond to malpractices revealed in the Auditor General’s Report.

"The Committee is currently interrogating Governors concerning water and sanitation companies in their counties. EACC has two (2) liaison officials who sit in the Senate Committees to pick issues that require anti-corruption enforcement actions," EACC said.

Kitui can not account for 55% of water resource

According to EACC, Kitui water company has a high percentage of Non-Revenue Water (NRW) at 55%.

"This means that it cannot account for revenue receivable from 55% of its water resource," the agency added.

EACC linked the high percentage of Non-Revenue Water to illegal connections, water theft, bribery and graft.

"Most water companies across counties have high percentages of Non-Revenue Water beyond the allowable maximum of 25% as per the Water Service Regulatory Board Guidelines," EACC revealed.

"Wajir Water and Sewerage Company has the highest Non-Revenue Water percentage at 82% meaning that revenue from 82% of the water resource cannot be accounted for. It does go to the County Government."

EACC chief executive officer Twalib Mbarak recently said they are probing massive corruption and malpractices that have seen counties lose over Ksh1 billion of taxpayers' money.

“In exercise of preventive mandate, the commission has noted extensive malpractices in management of water and sanitation companies which has resulted in losses and negative working capital,” the CEO said in a letter to all governors and Water and Sanitation Principal Secretary.

Mbarak noted that some of the water firms have been charging exorbitant fees, forcing residents to resort to illegal water connections and bribery.

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