A former senior electoral official yesterday told MPs how an internal audit report triggered a sharp division in the electoral body.
Former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) vice-chair Connie Maina claimed that IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati unilaterally procured an audit of the purchase of ICT equipment that implicated CEO Ezra Chiloba.
Appearing before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC), she narrated how Mr Chebukati shocked them by producing the report for discussion during one of the commission’s meetings.
Mr Chiloba was suspended and later fired on the basis of the audit report that disclosed the misappropriation of taxpayers’ money in the run-up the last General Election.
“The audit was sanctioned by the chairman. He removed it from under the table and tabled it for discussion. It brought a lot of discussions because it was not part of the agenda for that day,” Ms Maina told the Opiyo Wandayi-led commission.
She continued: “The question was why audit only the ICT procurement? Why not the human resource department or any other department? We finally discussed the report but did not conclude.”
Ruaraka MP T J Kajwang’ asked: “Is it true that you resigned to stall the operations of the commission by denying it the required quorum?”
Maina, who quit dramatically alongside commissioners Margaret Mwachanya and Paul Kurgat, denied the assertion, adding that her decision was “based on principles because she and the other commissioners could not see eye-to-eye with Chebukati”.
Earlier in the day, the committee questioned whether there was collusion between the commission and two information technology firms, IBM East Africa and Oracle Technology Systems, in awarding tenders running into hundreds of millions of shillings.
The two firms were awarded contracts worth Sh700 million to offer IT services during the 2017 General Election.
The MPs questioned the timing of the contracts, saying some were hurriedly awarded without proper documentation of engagement, and claiming the contracts could have been vendor-driven.
IEBC contracted IBM to provide hardware, security monitoring software and technical support as well as a global ICT infrastructure at a cost of Sh483 million.
The commission also handed Oracle a contract to back up the biometric voter registration (BVR) system.
In its defence, IBM, through its Country General Manager Nick Nesbitt, told the committee that its contract with the commission was for the maintenance of the election servers.
Oracle Managing Director Corine Mbiaketcha told the MPs that the agency approached them to carry out assessment on its database before they were awarded the tender.