Deputy President William Ruto found himself in unfamiliar territory after accusations that he had rushed to launch a project that was yet to be fully completed surfaced in parliament.
The Standard on Wednesday, October 2, reported that the Ksh5.3 billion Lower Nzoia irrigation and flood mitigation project that DP Ruto launched on June 7, 2019, was not ready to be commissioned since compensation issues were yet to be addressed.
The details emerged when the National Irrigation Board (NIB) and the National Land Commission (NLC) appeared before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to address compensation delay allegations.
Also present was the Water and Sanitation Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu, who told the PAC that the irrigation project was launched without the blessings of his office, as they were still addressing issues concerning the compensation of residents who had been displaced.
"There was no contact between the DP's office and my office. Even my project engineer was not there. Compensation is a very sensitive matter, which needed to be handled well," Irungu was quoted in the publication.
He further stated that even though the Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui attended the launch, Irungu could not confirm whether he had been contacted because there was no official report in the office.
"I cannot confirm that the cabinet secretary was contacted because there was nothing in writing. Had I been asked whether it was okay to launch the project, I would have said it was not proper," he concluded.
National Irrigation Board (NIB) boss Gitonga Mugambi claimed that he had attended the launch in an unofficial capacity, stating that he had been invited by former PS Fred Sigor.
The irrigation project was supposed to mitigate flooding common in the area and also to boost food production in the region.
The compensation process is currently in progress, with Ksh450 million reported to have been allocated to the National Land Commission to cater for the process.
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