Four Kitui landlords arrested over water theft - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 13 February 2021

Four Kitui landlords arrested over water theft

 

Four owners of residential apartments were yesterday arrested in a sting operation against illegal connections in Kitui town.

The landlords were found to have used crude means to vandalise the Masinga – Kitui water pipeline by installing their own water bypasses to avoid paying monthly bills to Kitui Water and Sanitation Company (Kitwasco).

In eight blocks of apartments in different town estates, some unscrupulous landlords had diverted the pipeline water into their own shallow wells, where they illegally distribute and charge other consumers.

According to Kioko Kiilu, the County Chief Officer for Water, 54 percent of water pumped from Masinga dam and treated for distribution in Kitui is lost through illegal connections, making it impossible for Kitwasco to break even and serve more people.

“The water company loses an estimated Sh15 million in revenue every month, through unaccounted for water as a result of theft by people who are able to pay bills” said Mr Kiilu, warning stern action will be taken against them.

He explained that the county government had been forced to subsidise the water company operations by paying the electricity cost of pumping and treating water.

Illegal connections

Mr Kiilu who led the sting operation to apprehend the suspects said the situation is shocking as his team established that some landlords have been charging their tenants monthly water bills but were not remitting the same to the water company.

"Kitwasco is supposed to be generating more than Sh30 million monthly in revenue and this can be sufficient to pay staff salaries, meet other operational costs and extend the pipeline to cover more water consumers” said the Chief Officer.

Kitwasco Managing Director Geoffrey Kitonga lamented that the illegal connections were being done through collusion with some of the company’s some rogue staff.

“Any staff found to have aided in water theft or corrupt dealings will face summary dismissal and criminal prosecution in court because such officers are a threat to the county’s progress” said Mr Kitonga.

The MD also warned that the operation will continue until all culprits are arrested and existing loopholes plugged to guarantee sustainability of the water company.

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