Former electoral agency CEO James Oswago and former chairman Issack Hassan have clashed over procurement of 4,000 additional Electronic Voter Identification Devices for the 2013 General Election.They cost Sh259 million.
Oswago told the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee yesterday that the commission, chaired by Hassan, held a plenary meeting on January 2013 and approved procurement of the additional kits.
This was in addition to 30,000 that had been contracted from Face Technologies Limited for Sh1.3 billion. “The law does not allow the commission to discuss procurement issues, but the meeting had members who are lawyers and the chairman himself knew this. The decision to procure the additional 4,000 kits was a commission plenary decision made by commissioners at the commission plenary meeting,” Oswago said.
But Hassan separately told the committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi he and the commissioners were not involved in the procurement process.
Hassan said the secretariat, led by Oswago, made a proposal for more devices. “We left it to the management to do what was necessary as per the law. We knew our limits. We gave the CEO the mandate to go ahead with the necessary variations. I always used to tell Oswago to be very careful as an accounting officer. He never complained to me,” he said.
“We did not approve the specifications of the kits but the need to increase the kits. I don’t deal with procurement or any financial management of the commission.”
Oswago said Face Technologies supplied to the Commission an additional 4,600 kits instead of the agreed 4,000. He said the company later claimed payment for Sh388.5 million, which he declined to pay.
According to the invoice, the amount included Sh110.9 million for maintenance component increase, Sh46.9 million for logistics, Sh43.9 million for VAT and import duty on 4,600 devices that cost Sh168.9 million. It also showed Sh5.8 million for 4,600 hand-held bags and Sh146.6 million for their import duty fee. An amount of Sh4.2 million was spent on 5,565 electronic power cables and Sh1.1 million on their import duty fee.
But Oswago said, “I declined to pay the invoice that came to me because we had not ordered an additional 4,600 kits.”
“If I paid for the 4,600 additional kits, I would be in Kamiti Prison. To date, there is no formal contract between the IEBC and the company for the delivery of those 4,600 additional kits.” He blamed Chiloba for paying Sh250 million to the company. “This was not paid under my tenure. Chiloba joined the commission and within three months, he had paid,” Oswago said.
Appearing before the committee last month, Chiloba saidthe Treasury and Auditor had given the commission approval to pay the firm Sh460 million as an additional claim for what they had supplied during the elections. He said internal auditors were commissioned by the Treasury to analyse spending bills. Chiloba said he opted to pay Sh250 million instead of Sh460 million which had been recorded as pending bills. He said the amount was for the supply of 4,600 additional kits, the hand-held devices but were not paid for in 2013. “I agree with Junet that issues were raised about the legal obligation... We paid for the goods that we had already received and what the auditors had already observed. We did some due diligence,” Chiloba said.