Residents of Mbulia in Voi Taita Taveta County had been looking forward to piped water after years of trekking long distances to buy the vital commodity.
They had hoped to benefit from the Kes50 million Mbololo-Ndii-Mlilo Water Project launched in 2018 by the then Deputy President Willia Ruto that was meant to be the biggest water project by national government under Equalization Fund in the county. It was expected to serve over 10,000 residents in eight villages in the region.
The project comprised of a concrete tank with a capacity of 500m3 and another one with a capacity for 225m3 respectively. There are also three metered kiosks and 10-km pipelines, a surface pump and a powerhouse.
In 2020, the Coast Water Works Development Agency set aside Kes8 million for the construction of Mbulia pipeline extension in Voi, Taita Taveta County, three water Kiosks and 10m3 plastic water tanks.
The contract was awarded and would have been completed by June 2021 according to the agency. By April, the project was on course and the contractor had even delivered the water tanks.
The Agency told the National Assembly Public Investments Committee on Commercial Affairs and Energy led by Pokot South MP David Pkosing that once the first installment was made, the contractor took the tanks away and abandoned the site.
“By 29th April 2021 a certificate of payment was prepared. By then the tanks had been delivered waiting installation and connection. However, the Contractor quit the site after 1st payment, works were never completed,” Coast Water Works Development Agency said.
Expenditure records indicated payments totaling Kes3,824,792 made in respect of Mbulia pipeline.
However, an audit verification done in September, 2021 revealed that none of the three water kiosks had the 10m3 plastic tanks prescribed in the Bills of Quantities (BQs) installed.
Further, the kiosks were not connected to the water inlet and outlet systems prescribed in the BQs. The records indicated that Kes300,000 had been paid for the water tanks and systems as at 30 June, 2021.
The Agency said the contract was later terminated and awarded to another contractor to finalize the remaining works and is now complete.
The Taita Taveta case is anecdotal of challenges facing state contracting resulting in poor workmanship, rogue suppliers and increased cost of projects.