The Omuthiya Town Council is planning to met out a severe punishment against a local businessman, Matias Amupolo whom they accuse of having made illegal connections to provide water at his village, Onakasino, situated a few kilometres from the town.
At a press conference today, Omuthiya Town Council Chief Executive Officer, Samuel Mbango emphasized that the matter will be dealt with in accordance with the Local Authorities Act (Act 23 of 1992) as amended.
“He will be dealt with , similarly with any other laws that govern this country,” Mbango adds in a press release.
The authorities say they discovered that Amupolo made an illegal/bypass from the the council's main water supply and denied having any knowledge of it.
Despite admitting that the council had approved Amupolo's application for water connection to Onakasino on 31 January in 2011, it was only discovered this year in May that there was an illegal connection leading to his homestead.
Mbango explains that community members made the discovery after they were digging their underground water pipeline trenches, when they accidentally cut a water pipeline in Onakasino village.
“Community members tried to close down the different stop valves in order to fix the damaged pie and discovered that there was no stop valve for that particular pipeline, and immediately reported the matter to the Town Council,” he states.
He adds that after further investigations, it was found that the illegal/bypass water pipeline was joined with Amupolo's water pipeline.
“The team (Council's technical team) discovered that there was an illegal/bypass water connection which was not known to the council, neither was it registered in the books of the councils,” he says.
Mbango than adds that after more investigations, it was found that the illegal/bypass water pipeline was joined with Amupolo's water pipeline.
“The illegal water pipeline is the one which was used to supply water to Mr. Amupolo's farm with unaccounted water because it did not have a water meter,” he says.
This led to the disconnection of water to Amupolo's farm on 24 May this year, after which the businessman wrote a letter to the council a few days later requesting an explanation thereof.
He also mentioned that he was not notified about the disconnection, adding that the council was acting against the mandate and efforts of Government which tries to help people through the difficult times of the current drought spell.
He also claimed that he has lost half of a total of 27 cattle he had at his farm which went astray due to thirst.
But his query and comments were met with a letter from Mbango dated 18 June, stating that a resolution was taken at their council meeting of 17 June that the water be disconnected, but was asked to provide answers in the same letter.
Instead of explaining the situation, Amupolo threatened the council, saying that the matter could end up in court.
A subsequent meeting with Mbango to get clarity on the matter did not yield much, with Mbango saying that to date Amupolo has denied any knowledge of the illegal connection.
“Now one wonders, what a prominent businessman is he and what type of image is he portraying if he opt to resolve the matter through the media,” Mbango asks.
Omuthiya Town Council spokesman, David Israel today told The Villager that investigations into the matter are still continuing.
Asked what the possible charge could be, he says a fine will be given in proportion with the water that he used illegally.
“We cannot say how much it will cost, but we are going to deal with the matter according to the procedures of the Local Authorities Act on such transgressions,” he says.
However, Amupolo earlier insisted that he has all the costs incurred since his water was disconnected and will reveal those if 'worse comes to worse.'
Despite that, he says council promised to come back to him on 12 July after their 9 July meeting, but has since not heard from them.
Israel confirmed that they did not inform Amupolo about their next step after today's press conference, but will do so once they have completed their investigations.