By Patrick Mutisya and Brian Okoth
Police in Makueni County are hunting a middle-aged man accused of stealing 486 bags of cement, which were to be used in the ongoing construction of the multi-billion shilling Thwake Multipurpose Dam.
The suspect works as a lorry driver of one of the firms contracted to build the dam.
Two hundred and twenty nine (229) of the 486 bags of cement have since been recovered from different locations in Wote, Makueni County.
Makueni County Police Commander, Joseph Ole Napeiyan, told K24 Digital that the site storage, where cement and other construction materials are kept, was broken into on the night of July 26 and the 486 bags of cement stolen.
“So far, we have recovered 229 bags of cement valued at over Ksh180, 000. Fifty (50) of the recovered bags were found in Shimo area, 54 discovered in Mavindini Market, and the remaining 125 retrieved from a house in Kaumoni Village,” said Ole Napeiyan.
Police suspect that the theft was organised by construction workers at the dam site.
“Our preliminary investigations indicate that the lorry driver, who is on the run, is the main suspect in the theft,” said the police boss.
Once completed, Thwake Multipurpose Dam is expected to change lives of close to 1.3 million residents of Makueni, Kitui and Machakos counties.
The multi-billion-shilling project is jointly funded by the Government of Kenya and the African Development Bank.
The dam, whose construction is spread across three phases, is over 30 per cent complete.
The first phase involves construction of an 80.5m high multi-purpose dam (688 million cubic meter storage capacity) and associated preliminary works needed to enable implementation of other three phases.
Phase Two will involve construction of hydropower and substation which is expected to generate at least 20 megawatts of electricity, while phase three will involve development of a water supply system to treat and distribute up to 150,000 cubic metres of water per day to rural inhabitants of Kitui and Makueni counties and Konza City in Machakos County and its environs.
The last stage of the project will see development of irrigation works for up to 40,075 hectares of land in Kitui and Makueni counties.