Probe into irregular procurement of Sh6.3 million fireworks by City Hall begins

A Nairobi county assembly watchdog committee is investigating the award of a Sh6.3 million fireworks display tender without competitive bidding.

The Public Accounts Committee is probing how officers from the county government’s trade department awarded Tononoka Company the deal for the 2017 New Year celebrations.

This is after Auditor General Edward Ouko, in his 2016-2017 report, said City Hall flouted the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2015, by applying a restricted tender process seemingly to favour the company that supplied the fireworks.

Last week, the watchdog committee hard pressed former Trade Executive Anna Othoro, former Trade Chief Officer Juda Abeka and lawyer Hesbon Agwena to explain why there was no competitive bidding.

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“I suspect that a few individuals colluded with Tononoka Company to ensure that only they got the tender. We had other companies responsible for supplying fireworks for the Diwali festival which is of a bigger magnitude than the new year celebrations so make me understand how you settled on Tononoka,” nominated MCA Silvia Kihoro said.

The Wilfred Odalo-led committee further highlighted that there was a variance of dates on the expenditure, raising more questions than answers.

Kilimani MCA Moses Ogeto wondered why two companies had been suggested to supply the fireworks and even provided with specifics in required quantities even before the procurement process was initiated.

He further revealed that the tender committee meeting was held on December 22, 2016 several days after a local purchase order (LPO) had already been issued to a company identified as M/s Tononoka Limited.

“I suspect fraud because according to the documents before us, payment was done on December 16, the local purchase order done on December 18 but the meeting meant to authorise for the same is indicated to have been conducted on December 22. That was irregular,” Mr Ogeto said.

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Former trade chief officer Juda Abeka however told the committee that they were only aware of one company licensed to supply such an amount of fireworks.

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Auditor General Edward OukoMCAsFireworksCity Hall