Two out of the three IEBC commissioners who resigned on Monday supported a decision to send CEO Ezra Chiloba on compulsory leave contrary to their claims, chairman Wafula Chebukati has said.
Chebukati in a statement dismissed claims by the commissioners that they were not consulted over the decision.
He said former chairperson Consolata Nkatha and commissioner Paul Kurgat were at a plenary meeting on April 6 that unanimously resolved to send Chiloba home.
Nkatha, Kurgat and Margaret Mwachana resigned on Monday citing lack of confidence in Chebukati.
They accused him of leaking confidential documents and making unilateral decisions on numerous occasions and passing them off as the commission’s collective agreement.
But Chebukati said the decision to send Chiloba home was collective, even though, some commissioners dissented.
He said the first plenary meeting was held on January 16 where concerns on certain contracts relating to the 2017 general election were discussed.
Chebukati said a subsequent plenary meeting was held on March 16 where it was resolved that the matter should be referred to the internal audit directorate for further investigation and a report tabled within 14 days.
“In the subsequent plenary meeting held on April 6, 2018, Prof [commissioner Abdi] Guliye read out the internal auditor’s preliminary investigative audit report dated April 5. All commissioners, including two of the three commissioners who have resigned Consolata Nkatha and Paul Kurgat gave their views on the same and the plenary by a majority vote resolved to send the commission secretary on compulsory leave to pave way for a conclusive and in-depth audit,” Chebukati said.
Chiloba is under probe over the alleged flawed procurement of 4,600 additional kits for the 2013 general election at a cost of Sh250 million.
Last month, Chiloba told the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee that Treasury and the Auditor general had given the commission approval to pay Sh460 million to Face Technologies for the supply of the extra poll kits.
He said he opted to pay Sh250 million instead of Sh460 million which had been recorded as pending bills.
On Monday, former CEO James Oswago told the Committee that the commission never had a contract with Face Technologies over the procurement of the hand-held devices.
“The money was paid and the devices delivered but if you check the records there is nowhere where it is recorded that we had the contract,” Oswago said.
Chebukati said he resolved to send Chiloba on compulsory leave in keeping in line with the Commission’s legal duty of ensuring resources allocated to IEBC are not wasted or embezzled.
He said he was also keeping in line with his personal resolve to transform the commission into a transparent and credible institution.
“Any public officer, inclusive of my commissioners and I, who are found to be culpable of wastage or pilfering public resources must be dealt with in accordance with the law,” Chebukati said.
He said this was not the first time the commission had voted to take action on an issue, adding this has previously been done on eight occasions.
“Even as chairman, I have lost some of the motions on some matters, which motions have nonetheless remained commission resolution. This is a fundamental principle of corporate governance and does not in any way amount to weakness,” he said.
Chebukati said Nkatha, Kurgat and Mwachanya had an opportunity to express their displeasure with issues they raised when resigning but failed to do so during a crisis meeting held on April 13 in Naivasha.
He said their decision to resign demonstrates lack of capacity to lead in difficult times and accommodate divergent views.
“They also should have introduced a motion to ask the commission chair to review the plenary decision (to send Chiloba on compulsory leave),” Chebukati said.
Treasury CS Henry Rotich is meanwhile expected to appear before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee on Tuesday to shed light on the controversial procurement of the extra kits.