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We were kept in the dark over tenders, Chebukati tells MPs



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The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) members were kept in the dark in more than 100 contracts issued by the secretariat from June 2016 to the election time, according to chairman Wafula Chebukati.

This comes as it was revealed how the secretariat violated the law and awarded lucrative tenders without following the law to “some shady companies” with over Sh9 billion unaccounted for, according to the latest report of Auditor-General Edward Ouko.

Mr Chebukati, who appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly on Monday, was put to task over what the commissioners did to save the country from losing money.

PAC chairman Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) posed: “So this commission was just there…if nothing was brought to it, it did nothing! Did the commission know that something of the sort was happening?”

He said the committee will do a special report on the commission aside from the other government agencies. “This is a clear case of abuse of the law,” Mr Opiyo added.

Among the questionable contracts that were awarded through direct tendering — contrary to the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act — include the Sh453 million given to IBM East Africa for the maintenance of servers that hosted the biometric voter register.

Another is the Sh273 million tender to Oracle Technology Systems Kenya for supply and provision of database and security solution, which was awarded within a record three days.

Some Sh28 million was also paid to Telkom Kenya for the procurement of co-location services for data centre and disaster recovery.

But Mr Chebukati said whenever the commissioners tried, they would be met with resistance from the secretariat headed by the sacked chief executive, Mr Ezra Chiloba.

“There was no matter that was brought to our attention that we didn’t attend to,” Mr Chebukati told the committee.

“The sacking of the CEO (Mr Chiloba) is part of the effort to clean the commission and we invite other government agencies to come and help us.”

Three commissioners — Ms Connie Nkatha (vice chairperson), Ms Margaret Mwachanya and Mr Paul Kurgat — who questioned Mr Chebukati’s decision to audit the procurement resigned in a huff, accusing the chairman of unfairly targeting Mr Chiloba.

“They resigned in protest because we were digging deeper into the matter and the decision to discipline the CEO,” Mr Chebukati said.

Meanwhile, the committee has ordered the commissioners who resigned, former head of legal services Ms Praxedes Tororey, the management of Oracle, IBM East Africa and Telkom Kenya to appear before it next week.