Iria actions border on criminality, says CS

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

Water Cabinet secretary Simon Chelugui has asked Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria to keep off the management of water sector in the county and warned that his actions bordered on criminality.

The CS yesterday attributed the current water wars in Murang’a to “political interference” and personal differences between Wa Iria and Murang’a Water and Sanitation Company (Muwasco) chairman  Peter Munga.

The move came on the day senators announced they have summoned Wa Iria and Munga to shed light on the dispute.

Appearing before the Senate Lands committee, Chelugui  said  while there are no actual reasons as to why Wa Iria is demanding 20 per cent share of the water that goes to Nairobi county, he claimed that his push to have Munga removed from office is the biggest contributor to the current issues.

Chelugui warned that Wa Iria’s push for the county Assembly to impose a 20 per cent levy on revenue generated from water supplied to Nairobi is criminal in nature.

The governor has been claiming the money will help expand water connections in the county. He had earlier  proposed a 25 per cent levy. Wa Iria said the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company makes more than Sh10 billion every year from the 500 million litres of daily supply. But yesterday while appearing before the committee, Chelugui warned Wa Iria to stop his demands or risk facing criminal proceedings.

According to Chelugui, the differences between Wa Iria and Munga  started way back as they both have historical relationship that borders on employee-employer relationship.

He told the senators that it has been difficult for the ministry to carry out sensitisation on the matters touching on water as the environment in Murang’a has been very hostile.

Further, he told the senators that due to the wrangles, the World Bank has withdrawn a Sh130 million facility that was to start in January 2018 whose aim was to support Muwasco expand water infrastructure to the lower parts of Murang’a.

Senators led by committee chairperson Mwangi Githiomi (Nyandarua) said there is a need to urgently address the water issues as they are affecting the functioning of two counties.

Embu Senator Njeru Ndwiga said if Murang’a succeeds in its push, all counties will also seek to get their share of resources that come from their regions.

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