Kenya’s Finance Minister, Henry Rotich, and other treasury officials were arrested Monday on corruption and fraud charges over a multi-million dollar project to build two mega-dams, police said. Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji, had ordered the arrest and prosecution of Rotich and 27 other top officials on charges of fraud, abuse of office and financial misconduct in the latest scandal to rock graft-wracked Kenya.
Rotich, his principal secretary and the chief executive of Kenya’s environmental authority then presented themselves to the police.
“They are in custody now awaiting to be taken to court,” police chief George Kinoti told. “We are looking for (the) others, and they will all go to court.”
Haji said the conception, procurement and payment processes for the dam project -part of a bid to improve water supply in the drought-prone country- was “riddled with irregularities”. “Investigations established that government officials flouted all procurement rules and abused their oath of office to ensure the scheme went through,” said Haji.
He pointed to the awarding of the contract to Italian firm CMC di Ravenna in a manner that he said flouted proper procurement procedures, and despite financial woes that forced the company into liquidation and had led to it failure on three other mega-dam projects. According to the contract, the project was to cost a total of $450 million (401 million euros), but the treasury had increased this amount by $164 million “without regard to performance or works,” said Haji.
In another development reported by BBC, Mr Haji said, “the contracts that were entered into and the loans that were taken were not in the interests of Kenyans but were serving other interests the country has lost quite a bit of money.” More than $200m has already been spent on the dam projects, but the dams are yet in existence.