Italian firms demand Sh11bn for cancelled Arror, Kimwarer dams projects
Thursday April 22 2021
By SAM KIPLAGAT
- The firms also want the court to declare that the cancellation of the contracts for the construction of the two dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County irregular and unlawful.
- It wants KVDA to be held liable for the delays in the construction and completion of the projects.
Three Italian firms at the centre of the Sh63 billion Kimwarer and Arror dams scandal have sued Kenya at the International Court of Arbitration, demanding more than Sh11 billion over the cancellation of the projects.
Court documents show that Cooperativa Muratori & Cementisti -CMC Di Ravenna Societa Cooperativa (Italy), Itinera S.P.A and CMC Di Ravanna- Itinera JV S.C.P.A. filed the case against the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) on December 15, asking for $114.1million plus costs of the case and expenses to be incurred by its lawyers during the hearing.
The firms also want the court to declare that the cancellation of the contracts for the construction of the two dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County irregular and unlawful.
It wants KVDA to be held liable for the delays in the construction and completion of the projects.
“Accordingly, order KVDA to pay the claimants all the amounts provisionally indicated as US$114,177,645, or any other different sum that will result due to claimants in the course of the proceedings, plus interest as applicable,” say the court papers.
In a letter to Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos, Solicitor-General Kennedy Ogeto has requested all documentation and correspondence regarding the projects.
Mr Ogeto also appointed senior state counsel Charles Wamwayi and Sheila Mammet to liaise with Governor Tolgos’ office as the government defends the case.
Former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and a number of senior Treasury and KVDA officials have been charged with economic crimes related to the construction of the two dams.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has accused Mr Rotich of hiding behind government-to-government procurement to single source privately owned Italian Insurance company SACE (an Italian export credit agency offering insurance) policy valued at Sh11 billion, an amount that was allegedly inflated by more than 400 percent.
Evidence presented in court by the prosecution allege that CMC Di Ravenna- Itinera JV was paid Sh4.3 billion on September 27, 2018 as advance payment for Arror dam.
For Kimwarer dam, an advance payment of Sh3.5 billion was allegedly approved on July 2, 2018.
The payments in two tranches were made to a web of associated companies in Kenya, South Africa and Italy that were not on tender documents, according to the DPP.
The bidder, according to court documents, was Cooperativa Muratori & Cementisi CMC Ravenna- Societa Cooperativa.
They declared a joint venture known as Aecom South Africa PTY Ltd but the company that was issued with the letter of award was CMC Di Ravenna South Africa while payments were made to CMC Di Ravena/Itinera JV Kenya Branch.
Mr Rotich has challenged his prosecution, questioning why former Environment and Regional Development Authorities Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu and experts from the ministry were left out. He said he signed the agreements at the tail end as part of his statutory responsibilities
The DPP dropped charges against former Treasury Principal Secretary (PS) Kamau Thugge and Dr Susan Koech, a former PS in the Ministry Environment, and plans to use them as witnesses in the trial against Mr Rotich.
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