Is Kidero planning to sell Nairobi Water Company to French firm?
A standoff between City Hall and workers at the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) has ensued over claims of plans to sell the firm to a French company.
This has led to unrest at the water firm over the last one week that has seen workers boycott work. The workers held demos at the company’s main offices in Industrial Area citing political interference in the firm’s management.
Kenya County Government Workers Union Nairobi branch secretary Matilda Kimetto claims they intercepted a draft MOU between the company’s board and SUEZ Company from France outlining the terms of the sale.
The document, seen by Nairobi News, states that SUEZ company is duly organized and existing under the law of France with share capital of $3.23 billion.
It states that the purpose of the MOU is to establish the basis for an operation and performance contract between NCWSC and SUEZ in order to improve the water services of the City of Nairobi.
“SUEZ through an operation and performance contract shall assist NCWSC in achieving these goals. It is expected that SUEZ will use its experience as water operator to meet its obligations,” read the letter in part.
“In order to obtain quick and tangible results, it has been agreed between SUEZ and NCWSC to set up a local private company responsible for implementing specific services and investments and providing an advisory team assisting NCSWC in its transformation,” it added.
Notably, signatures and other vital information have been blacked out in the document. Nairobi News could not verify its authenticity.
TAKE OVER SERVICES
Ms Matilda said that SUEZ company will take over services from the firm, which include network modelling, real-time monitoring, leak detection, asset management, customer management, meter management, call centre, customer relations, training and knowledge sharing, and quality assurance which are basically all functions of NWSC.
City Hall has however downplayed claims of the sale, terming them as rumours and politically instigated.
The County Executive for Water and Environment Engineer Peter Kimori said the documents are fake as they have no signature and the union cannot explain how they got hold of them.
Eng Kimori added that it is impossible to sell a parastatal and the union would have by now gone to court if the claims wer true.
This comes at a time the contracts of two senior officials have expired and have not been renewed, a move seen by the workers as meant to weaken the company and put it under receivership.
The contracts of the commercial director Mr Steven Mbugua and the financial director Johnston Ngandu expired this month but the board failed to renew them.
“The NWSC board has terminated contracts of two performing directors to destabilise the firm and use it as an excuse to privatize the organization,” said Ms Matilda.
“We are disputing the board’s move to not renew the contracts of top managers who have made this company be where it is from making sh60 million to the current sh800 million,” she added.
She claimed the board rescinded a decision by the human resource department and the committees to reinstate the two.
The union is now demanding the board to be dismantled as it does not have the interest of the company at heart.
NOT PROPERLY CONSTITUTED
She alleged that the board is not properly constituted because those serving in it are not stakeholders of the county as stipulated but the governor’s appointee.
“The law is clear. To serve as a board member of Nairobi Water you must represent a team from Cofek, Kenya Alliance Residents Association (Kara), Kenya Manufactures Association. These people are not supposed to be in the board, they are here to serve their master Dr Evans Kidero,” said Ms Kimetto.
Speaking to Nairobi News NCWS board chairman Raphael Nzomo said that they will not renew the contracts of the two directors since they have not been productive.