Senators summon Josphat Nanok over county water firm shareholder post

Former Turkana County Governor Josphat Nanok.

State House Deputy Chief of Staff Josphat Nanok.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

A Senate oversight committee has summoned State House Deputy Chief of Staff and former Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok over the shareholder position he holds in a county water company.

The former county boss has been asked to appear before the Senate Committee on County Public Investments and Special Funds to explain why he is a director of Turkana County Rural Water Services.

This comes after the committee, chaired by Vihiga lawmaker Godfrey Osotsi, found that Mr Nanok is a co-director and shareholder alongside the county prosecutor Erastus Ethekon, Joseph Emathe and Christopher Imana.

The same people are also directors of Turkana County Urban Water and Sewerage Services alongside Turkana County.

As a result, Mr Ososti said Mr Nanok will appear alongside the current governor Jeremiah Lomurkai next month to address issues surrounding the defunct Lodwar Water and Sanitation Company (Lowasco), the resulting audit issues and the company's past operations.

"We are directing the Office of the Auditor General to conduct a thorough forensic audit of the operations of the water utility company and submit a report within 60 days," Mr Osotsi said.

The committee has also directed the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to launch investigations into the water company and submit a preliminary report within 14 days.

The committee also ordered Turkana County to provide detailed information on its 40 per cent stake in Lowasco and the value of the shareholders.

Mr Osotsi directed the county to provide an updated asset register, noting that there is Sh1 million in Lowasco's bank account.

"We recommend that the county take over the management of Lodwar Water and Sanitation Company within 90 days," he said.

Yesterday, Governor Lomurkai was at pains to explain that Turkana County is not the sole shareholder in the two water companies.

The governor wondered why the county government did not have full ownership of the two water companies when the devolved unit has the highest number of livestock in the country.

He explained that there was a need for the two water companies to be owned by the county in order to provide clean drinking water for human and animal consumption.

"We have the highest number of livestock in the country. It was necessary to have the two water companies so that we can serve our people and their livestock," said Mr Lomurkai.

The deputy chair of the committee and Kisumu senator, Prof Tom Ojienda, asked the governor if the county had transferred assets from the Lowasco to the two water companies.

"Have you complied with the Water Act 2016 which provides that assets, liabilities and obligations existing before the commencement of the Act shall be disposed of within three years?" asked Mr Ojienda.

Section 150 (1) of the Water Services Act states that all property, assets, rights, liabilities, obligations, agreements and other arrangements existing at the commencement of this Act and vested in, acquired, incurred or entered into by or on behalf of the Water Services Regulatory Board established by the Water Act.