Risk

Operation and maintenance not carried out properly

Operations and maintenance might be neglected by staff and contractors.

Risk type: Consequence

Risk driver: Internal

DESCRIPTION

Proper operation and maintenance is the backbone of a functioning water supply and sewerage system. In order to operate and maintain this system, investments are required in the work of field staff as well as payments to subcontractors hired to handle certain tasks. Both types of ‘investments’ carry integrity risks:

  • Staff may lack motivation to carry out their tasks (repair work, checks or cleaning of pipes, etc.). To cover this up they may collude with colleagues – e.g. with those staff who handle complaints about service quality in their work area – to avoid their under-performance being noticed.
  • Staff may also misuse their position to force customers to pay bribes for receiving the maintenance services that they are entitled to (e.g. repairs of burst pipes that affect their water supply, etc.).
  • Contractors on the other hand may collude with utility staff to cover up their failure to fulfil their contractual obligations (e.g. they have only carried out parts of the repairs, measures, cleaning tasks etc. that they were supposed to do, or have not done anything at all).

RED FLAGS

  • There are large numbers of complaints and technical problems in certain parts of the network.
  • Contractors always want to work with the same field staff and postpone work when these staff are on leave, etc.

KEY GUIDING DOCUMENTS

TI and WIN, 2008, Global Corruption Report 2008 Corruption in the Water Sector, Transparency International (TI) and Water Integrity Network (WIN), Berlin, Germany

Odiwuor, K., 2013, In Africa, corruption dirties the water, IRIN humanitarian news and analysis, http://www.irinnews.org/report/97642/in-africa-corruption-dirties-the-water, accessed 15.10.2015

TARGETED EXAMPLES

Extortion for repair and maintenance1

Target group: Utilities

Location: Harare, Zimbabwe

Extortion in the repair and maintenance services is also common. In Zimbabwe, a resident of Harare was told the broken pipe that leaked sewage into his house would not be fixed unless he ‘dropped a feather’ – paid a bribe.

Lack of ring-fenced revenues2

Target group: Utilities

Location: Kenya

“Because the revenue that is collected from the water sector is not ring-fenced, it is not ploughed back in to improve services. It is not uncommon to see leaking and broken pipes and water pumps in many parts of urban and rural regions of African countries,” Barrack Luseno, a Kenyan water sector analyst, told IRIN [institution for humanitarian news and analysis service].

FULL REFERENCES

  1. TI, WIN, 2008, Global Corruption Report 2008 Corruption in the Water Sector, Transparency International (TI) & Water Integrity Network (WIN), Berlin, Germany
  2. Odiwuor, K., 2013, In Africa, corruption dirties the water, IRIN humanitarian news and analysis, http://www.irinnews.org/report/97642/in-africa-corruption-dirties-the-water, accessed 15.10.2015
Last updated 19 February 2019

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