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Take care Arror does not go Kimwarer way

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The cancellation of the construction of the controversy-ridden Kimwarer Dam in Elgeyo-Marakwet County is a major step in dealing with works of corruption.

But it should be followed by more severe sanctions. Already, the government has paid huge sums of money, Sh20 billion, as part-compensation for the twin projects of Kimwarer and Arror dams.

Specifically, for Kimwarer, it has incurred about Sh9 billion in down payment, commitment fees and insurance. That is money down the drain.

Those who negotiated the deal, approved the payments or were involved in the scam in any way must be seized and punished.

Then-National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, his Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge and a host of other top government officials have been charged with the offence.

However, the search for their suspected accomplices must be extended. The dam scandal is one of the most horrendous of our times and its masterminds have to face the full force of the law.

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FEASIBILITY STUDIES

Evidence from the technical committee appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta into the swindle is quite damning.

For instance, Kimwarer was to be built without a feasibility study, the last having been done in the early 1990s.

Even so, the studies exposed geological risks obtaining in the area, a fault line that cannot sustain such a project.

That notwithstanding, some individuals still saw it fit to pursue the project — although, and with the benefit of hindsight, it seems the intention was not to build a dam per se but use the plan as a conduit to steal public money. Indeed, the unprocedural payments indicate wicked intentions.

Although President Kenyatta cancelled the Kimwarer Dam project, he approved the construction of Arror Dam but at a considerably reduced cost.

The technical team, chaired by Infrastructure PS Paul Maringa, gave the Arror project a thumbs-up.

But given the deception that has characterised the two projects, it is incumbent on the team to take extreme caution to avert another scandal.

It’s paramount to investigate the viability of the project further, including the financial proposals and contractual terms.

Equally important, there must be distinction between politics and national development.

Garrulous politicians like Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen have taken to chastising the government over the cancellation of the Kimwarer project, essentially to score a political goal rather than cause a resolution to endemic filth.

Corruption stands condemned irrespective of region, ethnicity, creed or colour and should not be trivialised.

The government has to bring to closure the dams scandal and, in particular, take drastic action on the architects and their hirelings.