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June 21, 2018

IEBC to face PAC over ill spending

Kilifi North returning officer Guliya Abidwahid, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati and Malindi constituency returning officer Masha Sudi at the Malindi Airport yesterday /ALPHONCE GARI
Kilifi North returning officer Guliya Abidwahid, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati and Malindi constituency returning officer Masha Sudi at the Malindi Airport yesterday /ALPHONCE GARI

The IEBC chiefs are headed for a marathon four-day grilling by a powerful NASA-led watchdog committee over what the Auditor General has flagged as questionable financial expenditure.

In what is likely to be a stormy session, the Parliamentary Accounts Committee has summoned IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati and CEO Ezra Chiloba for interrogation.

The probe will centre on the Auditor General’s report for the last two financial years, including the latest released this week, which has lifted the lid on wasteful expenditure by government agencies.

Read: IEBC inflated kit maintenance tender threefold, auditor report

unlawful contracts?

The IEBC bosses, who have had an acrimonious relationship with NASA, will appear before the PAC on March 20, 21, 22 and 27.

“It’s true we have summoned the chairman and the CEO of the IEBC,” PAC chairman and Ugunja legislator Opiyo Wandayi told the Star in a text message.

Among the issues the IEBC will explain to the Wandayi-led committee is how 30 law firms were paid Sh328.3 million without lawful contracts.

The Auditor General has also fingered the IEBC for paying Sh17.8 million to five law firms that were single-sourced and were curiously not pre-qualified.

Also expected to feature prominently is the controversial transfer of 200 BVR kits to to the National Youth Service.

Ouko in his report has said the transfer, which triggered political heat last year, was “unsatisfactory”.

48 bvr kits stolen

Ahead of last year’s election, opposition politicians, led by Raila Odinga, claimed the kits given to the NYS were used to illegally register voters.

Some 48 BVR kits were also stolen from a Kapsabet warehouse. Ouko has raised concerns about “security of data in terms of backup and unauthorised access”.

The IEBC bosses will also be hard-pressed to explain how 150 Electronic Voter Identification Devices were transferred to Burundi to be used in the 2015 presidential polls.

“The commission irregularly transferred 150 EVIDS to Burundi, contrary to Section 26 of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Act, 2011,” the report says.

The IEBC is also on the spot for illegally inflating the tender for the purchase of BVR system vendor support and maintenance services above the sum quoted by the winning firm.

In his 2015-16 audit report, Ouko said the IEBC illegally altered and varied the contract amount from Sh31.7 million quoted by the same vendor in 2012 to an inflated price of Sh93.3 million in 2015.

He says the amount paid by the IEBC on the BVR system vendor support even exceeded the Sh39.5 million quoted by the firm itself in 2013.

“Although the commission has explained that vendor support is important in realising the benefits of the huge investment in the BVR system, the basis upon which these rates were determined has not been explained,” the latest report says.

The IEBC is also being blamed for directly buying air tickets for foreign travel totalling Sh9.2 million against the law. Two firms, which were not prequalified to supply air tickets, were paid Sh5,108,402.

 

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