Government Orders Suspension of Two CEOs Amid Corruption Probe

In a significant development that unfolded on September 21st, the Head of Public Service, Felix Koskei, issued a compelling directive for the immediate suspension of two prominent CEOs, sparking intense scrutiny into allegations of irregularities surrounding the awarding of water project contracts. The CEOs in question are Michael Thuita of Athi Water and Samuel Ouma of the Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency.

Koskei’s unambiguous directives also extended to the Board of the Central Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency, demanding the immediate suspension of its CEO, Eng. Samuel Oruma, pending a thorough investigation.

The core focus of this investigation revolves around the allocation of contracts for water infrastructure projects, with specific emphasis on the Ruiru II, Karimenu, and Kitui Matuu water projects executed under the umbrella of Athi Water. A press statement issued by Koskei’s office underscores the necessity of these suspensions in facilitating an exhaustive examination of the alleged irregularities marring the tendering process.

Koskei has expressed mounting concerns over the protracted delay in the board’s and ministry’s actions, citing that such inaction undermines the government’s resolute campaign against corruption.

In a significant turn of events on September 21st, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detained Michael Thuita for questioning pertaining to procurement practices at Athi Water. EACC detectives, armed with court orders, meticulously combed through Thuita’s residence in Westlands, Ongata Rongai, and his office along Kiambu road in search of pertinent documents.

Adding to the complexity of this unfolding narrative, Water CS Alice Wahome opted to disregard EACC’s recommendation to suspend the embattled CEO. EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak had originally called for Thuita’s suspension, underlining the critical role he plays as the agency’s accounting officer in the implementation of three pivotal projects. Mbarak stressed the need to act swiftly, fearing that Thuita’s continued presence in office might disrupt the seamless retrieval of documents and impede potential witnesses in the ongoing investigation.

It is worth noting that the water projects currently under scrutiny were initiated in 2013, a full four years before Michael Thuita assumed the CEO position in 2017, further adding complexity to this unfolding saga.

In a curious turn of events, Water CS Alice Wahome, through a correspondence to EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak, chose not to endorse the recommendation for Thuita’s suspension. Wahome contended that the paramount focus should revolve around investigating procurement matters, rather than hastily initiating suspensions as suggested in Mbarak’s letter. She expressed the need to access the complaint file or letter of complaint to make an informed decision regarding the recommended suspension.

As of today, September 23rd, this high-stakes investigation continues to captivate public attention, with questions swirling around the transparency of water project tenders and the appropriate course of action for CEOs ensnared in this complex web of allegations.

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