Header Ads

Wasreb wades into Kiambu water companies' saga, accuse county of flouting the law.

The Water Services Regulatory Board (Wasreb), which sets the rules and enforces standards in the water sector, has questioned the legality of the newly launched Kiambu Water and Sewerage Company Limited by the county administration.

In an advertisement featured in the local dailies, Wasreb has expressed concern that the county government had not yet provided them with information on compliance with regulatory requirements in terms of viability and sustainability of the new entity under the Water Act 2016.

"Wasreb is aware that the county government has yet to legally take over/merge the businesses of the existing licensed water services providers in the county as initiation and completion of the contemplated due process under the Companies Act 2015 and the Insolvency Act 2015 are yet to be finalised," read part of the statement.

According to Eng. Robert Gakobia the Wasreb CEO, the eight water companies purported to have been dissolved by the County Government of Kiambu should continue their operations as no winding up orders had been communicated to Wasreb.

The eight companies in question are;- Limuru Water and Sewerage Company, Kikuyu Water Company, Karuri Water and Sanitation Company, Ruiru Juja Water and Sewerage Company, Thika Water and Sewerage Company, Kiambu Water and Sewerage Company, Githunguri Water and Sanitation Company and Gatundu Water and Sanitation Company.

"Consumers in the surface area of the companies above are therefore advised to continue obtaining services and paying bills to the respective companies," continued the statement.

Wasreb said that they would continue giving technical assistance and advice to the County Government of Kiambu in its vision to create viable and sustainable water service providers but must adhere to the precepts of the law.

"Wasreb supports the concept of clustering water companies to achieve the the economies of scale and facilitate sustainability in the provision of water services. While the proposed company could be the first step by the county in achieving its vision, it is important that the legal and regulatory position is clarified for consumer protection and sustainability of the water services sector," stated Wasreb.

On Thursday last week, High Court Judge W.A Okwany issued an order barring the county government from implementing the Kiambu Water and Sanitation (amendment) Act, 2018, whose enactment paved way for the dissolution of the utility companies.

This was after a section of county residents moved to court to challenge the Act, on grounds that it was unconstitutional.They argued that there was no public participation during the formulation of the law, and that it is against the spirit of devolution.

On March 27, 2016, former Transitional Authority chairman Kinuthia Mwangi, Thika District Business Association and Jamhuri Ofafa Starehe Welfare Association filed a petition at the Kiambu High Court challenging the validity and constitutionality of the Act which was signed into law the same month by Mr Waititu.

But despite the order, Mr Waititu on Friday held a ceremony to fold all the companies and unveiled a new company dubbed Kiambu Water and Sewerage Company and even unveiled its interim board.

The event was held at the Kiambu Town county headquarters, and was graced by Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony, whose county merged two utility companies three years ago.

Managing directors of all the eight water companies surrendered their respective company seals, certificates of registration and articles and memorandums of association.

(Related story: Kiambu Government sued over constitutional breach.)

Waititu justified his action saying it will enhance efficiency and transparency in the water sector, accusing his political competitors of being behind the court case.
“We have followed the Constitution which gives our county assembly the mandate to pass laws, which they did (by passing the water Act), and they held public participation.
"So if you never showed up during public participation, there are other people who did it because Kiambu has many people, and public participation is not for specific people.”
"There are those (people), who are not with us (not supporting the merger), (and) they are those who we competed with (in 2017) or are planning to compete with me (in 2022) and so it is expected that they will fight any good project that I come up with,” Waititu said.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.