Senators flag transfer of assets to devolved units

Senate sitting

A past Senate sitting. Senators have raised concerns over the process of transfer of assets from the defunct local authorities to the county governments.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Senators have raised concerns over the process of transfer of assets from the defunct local authorities to the county governments.

The lawmakers said they have flagged several gaps in the transfers, especially in the water sector.

Senate County Public Investments and Special Funds committee chairperson Godfrey Osotsi (Vihiga) said even though the intergovernmental relations technical committee (IGRTC) had said the water assets had not been transferred, this was not true. He gave the case of Lodwar Water and Sanitation Company (Lowasco).

“In your records, you indicated that no assets were transferred as far as water is concerned. However, one of the shareholders of Lodwar Water and Sewerage Services Company is a private company yet there is no transition that was done at all,” Mr Osotsi told Turkana Governor Jeremiah Lomurkai.

During a meeting of the watchdog committee, it emerged that 40 per cent of the water firm was in private hands. Turkana Governor Jeremiah Lomurkai could also not explain why the county is not the only shareholder in the water utility.

The committee directed the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to launch investigations into Lowasco and provide a preliminary report within 14 days. It also directed the Auditor-General to undertake a thorough forensic audit on the operation of the water firm and file a report within 60 days.

Further, the committee directed the Turkana County administration to provide an updated asset register and take over operations and management of the water firm within 90 days.

Committee vice-chair and Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda questioned how the firm assets got transferred.

“You have a lot to address because when these assets are not properly transferred they may land in the wrong hands and public assets are lost in the process,” he said.

Delay in transfer of functions

Nominated Senator Tabitha Mutinda took issue with the delay in the transfer of functions to counties. 

“You promised to complete the transfer of functions in six months but we are already three months into the six months and the signals we are getting from the national government do not correlate with what you are saying,” she told IGRTC chairperson Kiragu Kithinji.

However, Mr Kithinji said they have completed the identification, valuation and validation of assets and liabilities that were previously under the defunct authorities in readiness for their takeover by county governments.

Among the assets are 62,342 parcels of land that were identified and verified. However, some 3,106 of these were marked as disputed due to irregular or illegal allocation, undefined boundaries, grabbing and encroachment.

Some 8,4621 buildings have been identified and 16 have disputes arising from illegal or irregular allocation or illegal occupation.