Ex-Nairobi county officers queried over Sh6.3m fireworks tender

In Summary

• Restrictive tendering was used

• Former county officers say Tononoka Ltd was chosen having previously worked with company

Former Nairobi county Trade CEC Ann Othoro
Former Nairobi county Trade CEC Ann Othoro
Image: FILE

Former staffers from Nairobi county's Trade department have been taken to task over the award of Sh6.3 million contract through a restricted tender.

The tender was awarded to Tononoka company for the supply of fireworks for  2017 New Year celebrations.

The 2016-17 Auditor General's report shows the Public Procurement and Disposal Act was not followed.

Former Trade CEC Anna Othoro and chief officer Juda Abeka, who served under former Governor Evans Kidero, as well as lawyer Hesbon Agwena appeared before the county assembly Public Accounts Committee on Thursday.

They were asked to explain why the opted for restricted tendering, which locked out other companies that could have supplied the items cheaper.

Committee chairman Wilfred Odalo noted there were discrepancies in payments.

Nominated MCA Silvia Kihoro said, "There were other companies who had supplied fireworks for the Diwali festival, which attracts a bigger crowd than the new year celebrations. We need to know how the county settled on Tononoka."

Kilimani MCA Moses Ogeto raised concerns on why two companies were locked out of the tender despite being provided with specific required quantities before the procurement process started.

In a previous sitting, it was revealed the tender committee meeting was held on December 22, 2016 , two days after the Local Purchase Order (LPO) had been already issued to M/s Tononoka Limited.

"This is an irregularity. Documents before this committee reveal that payments were done on December 16, Local Purchase order on December 18 but the meeting which was held to authorise for the same was conducted on December 22. This is fraud," Ogeto said.

Former Trade Chief Officer Abeka told the committee the county was  aware of the rates charged by Tononoka company, since they had worked with them in 2015  and they were the only licensed company to supply a huge amount of fireworks.

"Since we had worked with them before, we reached out to Tononoka but they had raised their rates based on the packages offered. To us, Sh6 million was ideal," Abeka said.

Agwena said on December 29, 2016, he signed for the delivery for the fireworks but was not present when they were delivered to KICC on December 31, 2016.

“I was unwell and out of town and I was not physically present when delivery was made. But one of my officers confirmed the delivery and they inspected the fireworks," Agwena said.

However, Minority chief whip Peter Imwatok said that Agwena, who led the  inspection and acceptance team, did not verify the amount of fireworks received for the celebrations and whether the county got value for money.

The committee's chairman, Wilfred Odalo, ruled that the whole tendering process was marred by interests and conspiracy with an intention to defraud the county.

"If found that money had been lost, the committee through a report will seek the indulgence of the DCI and EACC to recover county money and jail those found culpable,” he said.