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Monica Juma fights to save her name over Sh1.75bn fiasco

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By SAMWEL OWINO
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By STELLA CHERONO
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Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma wants her name expunged from the report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), in which she was adversely mentioned over the irregular award of a Sh1.75 billion tender for the provision of a comprehensive group life insurance cover for the police and prisons services.

In a letter to National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai dated November 25, Dr Juma argues that the contract investigated by PAC was signed and executed on August 12, 2014, when she was transferred to the Interior ministry on August 14, 2014.

“I took over the office of principal secretary in the Department of Interior on Wednesday, August 20, 2014. By the time I took office, the said contract had been signed and executed,” reads the letter.

“In the light of this, I urge that my name be expunged from the report. This is critical because, as it is, when the report was tabled in Parliament, the recommendations of the PAC were reported in the Daily Nation, generating huge public interest and damaging my person,” it adds.

She expressed fear that if the anomaly is not corrected, the information will disparage and ruin her reputation.

The report, tabled before the House two weeks ago, recommended that Dr Juma be held accountable for the irregular award of a Sh1.75 billion tender.

It is based on Auditor-General Edward Ouko’s report on the national government’s financial statements for the 2014/2015 financial year.

The committee, chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, directed the EACC and DCI to investigate the procurement of the insurance scheme.

“Much as the provision of the insurance cover was required, the accounting officer (PS) erred and did not adhere to the provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2005. She should, therefore, be investigated with a view to being prosecuted, if found culpable,” the report says.

Dr Juma is accused of introducing a new criterion during the evaluation and comparison of tenders, and cancelling the tender with the lowest bid, contrary to the procurement law and the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act of 2012.

The PAC also established that the Interior ministry did not submit the minutes of its tender committee’s meeting to support its award of the tender for audit review.

“The Committee was not able to verify that the award of the contract complied with the procurement Act,” the report says.

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