Lamu water board loses sh.30 million to scammers

LAWASCO chair Mohamed Athman points at a vandalized meter .Lamu water has reported losing sh 30 million to scammers PHOTO COURTESY

Lamu, KENYA: The Lamu Water Services Company-LAWASCO has unearthed a grand theft syndicate that has seen the board lose Sh.30 Million through dubious water acquisition scams in the last four years.

According to the LAWASCO board Director Kimani Wainaina, the water ‘theft’ has been happening through the assistance of a section of the board’s officials who have been working in cahoots with equally corrupt-minded customers.

Wainaina said the customers normally have their premises fitted with unregistered water meters which makes it hard for the board to locate them for water charges.

The ‘stimulant’ water meters of Lamu

He said the corrupt officials have found alternative ways to create fake accounts in which the low-cost water payments are made after which the monies go into individual pockets.

The LAWASCO has approximately 4,300 known water users but Wainanina says the number of those paying diligently and regularly for the commodity is extremely low.

A recent crackdown saw the board recover 1000 fake water meters from various houses and establishments in the county.

“Our biggest headache is that there are some of our officers who are working with clients to steal water through the use of unregistered water meters.Losing Sh.30 Million in four years is a big deal and we are doing all we can to stop the trend, “said Wainaina.

He said in a bid to fight off the theft ,they have now introduced payment of water bills for all registered customers via mobile phone.

The water boss said they are positive that the new mode is at least 90% fool proof and will easily enable them to catch anyone playing foul.

He said they were not taking kindly the fact that the board was running at a loss despite improving water provision services all across Lamu.

“At the moment we are appealing to all those with unregistered metres to surrender them because we believe you cant have such a metres installed and feign ignorance. We are cracking down and we shall not take lightly those found with fake metres. We shall have you charged for theft plus you shall not escape a fine of not less than Sh.100,000.You will also be made to pay all the bills you have skived,” he said.