Minister orders operation against ‘thieving’ water

12Mar 2016
Our Reporter
The Guardian
Minister orders operation against ‘thieving’ water

WATER and Irrigation Minister Gerson Rwenge has suspected a number of large industries of illegal water connection and directed immediate investigations to expose deceitful consumers.

Gerson Rwenge

According to the minister, several firms in Dar es Salaam were either using faulty water meters or meters not connected to the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Corporation (Dawasco) system, thus denying the state its revenue.

According to the minister, some construction companies including the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transport (DART) contractor, Strabag, had connected water illegally.

The company, according to the minister owed Dawasco over 2.9bn/- in revenue for water it used during the DART project construction.

Meanwhile, the minister yesterday suspended nine Dawasco senior officers pending investigation over their alleged involvement in illegal water connections in the city.

Minister Rwenge also tasked the Dawasco board to carry out an independent investigation against its former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jackson Midala.

“The officers are likely to have the required information to identify what transpired … the ex-Dawasco boss should be questioned as he was in some way involved in this bogus trade during his tenure in office,” he said.

The minister issued a 14-day ultimatum for Strabag to clear the debt all face prosecution.

The minister also directed the board to investigate all large investing companies including TBL group on whether they actually pay their actual water bills to the corporation.

Unconfirmed reports had it that some senior officers at the corporation were on the firm’s payroll.

“This has made the firm (Dawasco) unable to generate enough revenue. The government will not tolerate dishonest employees,” he said.

The new developments comes while the state owned utility had targeted a 45 per cent rise in revenue this year.

Dawasco CEO Eng Cyprian Luhemeja projected the firm would reduce none-revenue water to 30 per cent by 2018 but the minister says the 30 per cent mark should be achieved this year.

Eng Luhemeja told the minister that Dawasco intends to improve its revenue collection by 10bn/- this month, up from 7bn/- registered in January this year.

“With the increase in the number of customers and efficiency we want to collect 12bn/- by June, this year,” he said.
The CEO said plans to connect 400,000 new customers by June this year were going very well and that the number of registered water users in the city would reach 550,000 at the end of this financial year.

Samwel Kitundu, Dawasco’s board chairman, assured the minister that investigation against the nine Dawasco managers would start as soon as possible.

The suspended managers are Reginald Kessy, Teresia Mwengu, Emannuel Buruba, Raymond Kapera, Peter Chacha, Fred Mapunda, Jumanne Ngelera, Benard Mkenda and Mvano Mandawa.