The electoral agency blew Sh24.5 million on a contractor who supplied it with 500,000 security seals at 10 times the standard price
Each seal was bought at Sh49, which is 10 times more costly than those acquired from M/s Far East — at only Sh5.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chief executive Marjan Hussein Marjan, who appeared before the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee Tuesday, was hard-pressed to explain why the procurement was varied by 10 times.
“Due to limited time, the commission had no alternative but to acquire off-the-shelf seals that are regularly used and readily available. The commission, therefore, changed the specifications from plastic to wire seals (metal) which cost more,” Mr Marjan told the committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi.
According to auditor general Edward Ouko’s latest report, the records at the commission showed that the tender for supply of 3,696,000 security seals on March 22, 2017, was awarded to a contractor at Sh19.6 million.
However, M/s Far East supplied only 2,001,600 seals valued at Sh10.6 million, leaving a balance of 1,694,400, which forced the commission to order 500,000 additional seals at Sh24.5 million from another contractor through direct procurement on August 4, 2017, four days to the polls.
Although Mr Marjan said the unit prices of seals differ due to the metallic nature, audit verification did not observe any metallic seals as they were of a similar quality to the ones supplied by M/s Far East.
But even as the taxpayers incurred the expenses to ensure a secure election, M/s Far East delivered the first batch in August 2017, just a few days to the General Election, meaning that they were not used in the July planned demonstration for election officers.
The second batch of 1,694,400 came in October, after the election, but the commission still went ahead to receive them.
According to Mr Marjan, the delay in delivering the seals forced the commission to order for the supply of 500,000 from another contractor.
But even with the second procurement, the commission had a deficit of 138,400 seals, which may have affected the security of the elections.
“You should not have received the second batch because it was time barred,” Mr Wandayi said after IEBC procurement manager Bernard Nyacheo said the seals were received pending inspection.