Kenya cancels its plan to build the $214 million scandal-hit dam

The building of a controversial dam in Kenya has been cancelled by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has cancelled the building of after an investigation found that the project was financially and technically unfeasible.

Prior to now, Uhuru asked a team to look into the building of two dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County, in western Kenya, following a corruption scandal over the awarding of a contract for their construction. Kimwarer Dam which was expected to cost $214 million was discovered to have been overpriced and it was neither technically nor financially viable.

According to the committee, no current reliable feasibility study had been conducted on the dam project. The only feasibility study carried out on a similar project twenty eight (28) years ago had revealed a geological fault across the 800 acre project area, which would have negative structural effects on the proposed dam. The Technical Committee also established that the Kimwarer project area is settled and would require compensation of displaced residents.

Before the Kimwarer Dam contract was awarded to CMC DI Ravenna of Italy and $38.57 million advance paid, no reliable feasibility study had been conducted for Kimwarer Dam, no thought given to the compensation that would need to be given to residents in the area that would be flooded and the technical design was problematic, the investigation discovered.

The technical design of the Kimwarer Dam revealed that the water supply mechanism would involve pumping, an aspect the Technical Committee found to be unsustainable in terms of operations and maintenance costs.

Irregularities and improprieties also surrounded the second infrastructure project, Arror dam. And though it discovered to be economically viable, some changes would have to be made to make it more affordable. Arror dam will only require about 250 acres of land and will cost Sh15.4 billion (over $148.56 million) with power and Sh13.1 billion (over $126.37 million) without power. Previously, the dam was estimated to cost Sh28.3 billion ($273 million).