NAIROBI—The Senate Committee on County Public Investments and Special Funds, presided over by Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi, convened a meeting with Wajir County Governor Ahmed Abdullahi to deliberate on the Auditor General’s report concerning Wajir Water and Sewerage Company Limited’s financial statements from 2018 to 2021.
Attendees at the meeting were Senators including Vice Chair Prof. Tom Ojienda, William Kisang, Tabitha Maureen Mutinda, Hamida Kibwana, Karungo Thangwa, and Miraj Abdullahi Abdulrahman.
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The report raised alarm bells in the committee, prompting an establishment of a series of protocols aimed at reinforcing management efficiency, operational effectiveness, and company-wide transparency. To this end, the committee called upon Governor Abdullahi to take a more hands-on role in the management of the water company and to shoulder responsibility for its operations.
Complementing this call to action, the Governor was directed to come up with a human resource audit report that traces the steps undertaken towards instituting a more streamlined and productive staff structure within the company. Moreover, he has been directed to conduct an extensive asset mapping exercise within a fortnight, an endeavor set to yield an updated register encapsulating the company’s total assets and liabilities.
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Governor Abdullahi was also tasked to curb the startling 82% Non-Revenue Water rate, with a 60-day deadline to present comprehensive strategies designed to counter this problem. He is to work closely with the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) in investigating possible illicit connections and corrupt practices.
To further guarantee financial transparency, the committee has instructed the water company’s management to prepare and submit all financial statements starting from the 2020/21 fiscal year, in adherence with the law. In a similar vein, the EACC was charged to investigate the company’s historical operations and offer a preliminary report to the committee.
To manage financial risk, the Office of the Auditor General and the Parliamentary Budget Office were asked to formulate a fiduciary risk analysis report within two months. This crucial document, set to be submitted to the Senate, should provide an in-depth evaluation of potential financial losses and corresponding recommendations.
In light of legislating operational support, the County Government and the County Assembly were given a one-month ultimatum to complete the enactment of County Water Legislation. Additionally, the Governor has to demonstrate completion of the reconstitution of the Board of Directors within a month, ensuring effective strategic leadership in the company.
Furthermore, the County Government is expected to disclose information on any grants received in the water sector, detailing donor partners and infrastructural developments funded by these contributions. In a final directive, Governor Abdullahi is required to confirm the closure of bank accounts previously used to receive conditional grants within two weeks.