Meru Water and Sewerage Company under probe as complaints rise


Meru Assembly Deputy Speaker Elias Murega who is also Municipality MCA (centre) speaks in assembly in a past event.

By Rugendo Antony

araneeto@gmail.com

Worth Noting:

  • “There has been a lot of complaints from consumers especially on MEWASS way of reading the water Meters, they feel that what they pay is more than the water consumed,” Mr. Murega noted.
  • “Fire engines rushed to Makutano fire hydrant when a fire incident was reported at Kaithe but they found no water, this means that MEWASS should install more hydrants and maybe a tank at the fire rescue centre in Meru town,” Murega said.
  • A cross-check by  Kenya Timesrevealed that majority of households in Gitimbine, Gachanka, Makutano, Gitoro, Kambakia are Kaaga are facing water shortage with most taps running dry.

Meru Water and Sewerage Company (MEWASS) is facing scrutiny from Meru members of County Assembly after rise in complaints by the consumers.

The water and sewerage company has been criticized over inadequate water, water payment saga and alleged biasness in employment.

MEWASS is a water service provider licensed by Tana Water Board and charged with provision of water and sewerage services in Meru town and its environs. The water and sewerage company took over management of Meru urban water provision and sewerage system on July 1, 2002 from ministry of Environment and Natural resources and the then Municipal Council of Meru

According to Municipality ward MCA Elias Murega residents consuming the water have been complaining of ballooned water bills.

“There has been a lot of complaints from consumers especially on MEWASS way of reading the water Meters, they feel that what they pay is more than the water consumed,” Mr. Murega noted.

Murega who is the deputy assembly Speaker noted that they have been receiving complaints of nepotism and biasness in employments done by the water company.

Additionally the Meru water providing company has been critiqued over alleged inability to provide adequate water to its consumers.

An incident where Meru fire engines delayed to respond to a fire breakout at Kaithe for lack of water was cited.

According to the municipality MCA the fire engines were unable to respond due to lack of water in a fire hydrant at Makutano.

Murega called for more fire hydrants in the Municipality to enable swift response of the fire fighters in incidents of fire breakouts.

“Fire engines rushed to Makutano fire hydrant when a fire incident was reported at Kaithe but they found no water, this means that MEWASS should install more hydrants and maybe a tank at the fire rescue centre in Meru town,” Murega said.

Murega pointed a blame finger on MEWASS CEO over the increased complaints.

“If you as the CEO hasn’t heard these complaints am going to chat a way forward with the governor, your position should benefit Meru residents and especially those consuming the water,” Murega noted

Murega statement was supported by Agnes Kanini a resident of Meru town and a consumer of MEWASS water. Kanini complained of paying huge water bills despite increased water shortage in her plot.

“People living in my rented houses have been lacking water even a week, yet every month they ask me to pay bills amounting to more than Sh. 4000,” Kanini complained.

Kanini attached water shortage to water rationing done by MEWASS.

Peter Mutwiri a resident at Makutano said they have been forced to go without water for weeks with taps running dry.

Mutwiri blamed MEWASS company officers whom he said have been neglecting their calls and grievances over lack of water.

A cross-check by Mt. Kenya Times revealed that majority of households in Gitimbine, Gachanka, Makutano, Gitoro, Kambakia are Kaaga are facing water shortage with most taps running dry.

Meru Water and Sewerage Service (MEWASS) who are a main water provider in Meru town depend on Kathita river among others for water provision. However, according to residents the company has been forced to ration water to twice a week in various estates with other areas receiving no water.

MEWASS has been in limelight over mismanagement in recent past with an audit report done early this year revealing misuse of funds in the company.

Through a report from Auditor General Edward Ouko adopted by Meru County Assembly on May this year, it was revealed that MEWASS overspent its budget by Sh. 5,161,326, an amount of money whose source cannot be traced.

Ouko noted that MEWASS under spent its Sh.188, 764,558 budget by Sh.23, 719, 039 leading to lack of expected services by Meru residents in the year ended June 30 2018.

Mr Ouko argued that the funds should have been allocated to other deserving areas that would have improved goods and services delivery to the people of Meru.

The report further revealed that an officer working with MEWASS was paid Sh. 59,417 leave allowances twice.

Ouko in his report noted that the officer had been paid the leave allowances as part of his monthly salary but MEWASS went ahead to pay him again as accrued leave days.

The AG further revealed that MEWASS failed to deduct Sh. 217,129 from the said officer two months’ salary that he was not entitled to after immediate resignation contrary to his employment contract.

Auditor General’s report also revealed that MEWASS paid Sh. 701,528 as wages and salaries to a former officer who was no longer their employer. It was also not noted who made the irregular payment.

The Assembly of Meru County further heard that MEWASS spent Sh.1, 474,100 during a staff retreat to Mombasa but no explanation was provided as to why the staff went to such a retreat that could be done in Meru.

Speaking at the Assembly in May this year, Miriam Kajuju, a Nominated MCA said water shortages in Meru County are as a result of mismanagement in MEWASS.

Abongeta East MCA Karinga Mwirigi who had moved the motion to adopt the Auditor General report noted that bad management in MEWASS had resulted to losses in the company, corruption and water problems in the County.

Despite the motion moved five months ago the problems cited by the MCAs seem unsolved with the Meru Assembly deputy speaker calling for swift action to end water woes in the region.

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