The Water ministry may have lost millions of shillings through unexplained payments to water drilling contractors.
The ministry is hard put to explain the debts, which now exceed Sh930 million [US$ 13 million] and is suspected to have been lost at the National Water and Pipeline Corporation.
In a report obtained by the Nation [newspaper], the Efficiency Monitoring Unit based in the Office of the Prime Minister accuses the corporation’s board of supervising the near-collapse of the firm due to the debts.
The report focuses on the period before the 2007 General Election, when large sums of money were paid out to contractors and suppliers without invoices or government Local Purchase Orders (LPOs).
The report comes after investigations on the corporation’s financial position. The board had held a special meeting on October 9, 2008, seeking the assistance of the Inspectorate of State Corporations in the probe.
According to the report, though the corporation has applied for Sh550 million [US$ 7.7 million] from the government to offset the extra works under the 2006/07 financial year, it has continued to find itself in debt.
The report recommends disciplinary action and in some cases surcharges against former managing director J K Muchemi, head of procurement Ferdinand Musakhala, finance boss Stanley Mombo Amuti, and the head of internal audit, a Mr Onguso, as “culpable for the financial malfeasance and poor management”.
“It is very difficult to ascertain whether the goods/services were actually delivered/rendered given the situation where invoices are raised without prior orders being issued,” said the report.
According to the corporation’s chairman, Prof Stanley Shitole, two employees have been suspended and three others asked by the board to step aside to pave the way for investigations following the disappearance of more than Sh30 million [US$ 420,000].
However, he denied reports that Sh10 billion [US$ 140 million] meant for water storage dams had been misappropriated. Water minister Charity Ngilu said she was studying the report, which she received last week, and would soon announce the action needed to restore the corporation to firm footing.
Source: The Nation / allAfrica.com, 25 Oct 2009