Kisii MCAs allege irregularities in Sh40 million tender, call for probe

Kisii County Assembly building after it caught fire in September 2020. [File, Standard]

The county assembly of Kisii has called for investigations into the award of a Sh40 million tender for the renovation of its chambers destroyed by fire in September 2020.

Call for investigations by the County Assembly Public Accounts and Investment Committee follow claims the contractor who landed the tender was single-sourced, against public procurement laws.

At the moment, the contractor has already completed the job and the chambers have been occupied.

Records indicate that the contractor has been paid Sh22.1 million of the total tender amount.

The committee also wants the Ethics and Anti-Corruption (EACC) and Directorate of Criminal Investigations to carry out a forensic audit of the tender documents reportedly signed and used in the award of the tender that was issued in November 2020.

In its report, the committee said the tendering process did not follow the law and called for action against anyone who may have been involved in the alleged irregularities. 

"We would want to see prosecutions and other forms of disciplinary actions taken against government officers who were involved in the award of the tender as there was no value for money," said the committee chaired by Mageche MCA Timothy Ogugu.

He put the County Assembly Service Board in a spot over the matter and demanded clarity over the process of awarding the tender he claimed was shrouded in mystery.

"The investigations we are calling for are geared towards correcting the irregularities in the tendering process by the assembly. The probe will also offer a lasting solution, through recommendations, to seal loopholes that have led to the plundering of public resources," said the committee in its report.

Two individuals are said to have advised and even raised payment certificates to the county assembly's accountant for consideration. Payment vouchers indicate that the contractor was first paid Sh5.3 million and later on, received Sh16.7 million as part of the payment.

Kisii County Assembly Leader of Majority Timothy Ogugu addresses the press outside the assembly on Thursday, February 18, 2021. [File, Standard]

"The assembly accounts officer initiated the payment process with a mere certificate without any due diligence and supportive documents or attachments,” the report reads.

The committee noted that the performance bond was received and stamped by the senior supplies and management officer of the assembly on November 31, 2021, a non-existent date in the calendar.

The committee observed that the contract was signed between the county assembly and the contractor against the law.

“The contract should have been signed by the Country Assembly Public Service Board which has the contractual capacity to enter into legally binding contracts on behalf of the assembly,” according to the report.

Despite the existence of four tender opening committee appointments, the MCAs found that only one officer, identified as an 'IFMIS buyer', had access to the electronic tender box. This, the committee noted, was against the Public Procurement Asset Disposal Regulations, 2020 section 57 (1) and (2).

The Act stipulates that each electronic tender box has three passwords, which are simultaneously time–activated, and each password shall be issued to different officers who are on the tender opening committee. 

Property worth millions of shillings was lost following a fire incident at the Kisii county assembly.  

The assembly gallery and the entire broadcasting section were burnt down.