How Sh6.6b kit tender split poll agency bosses

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Acting CEO Marjan Hussein Marjan (L), Chairman Wafula Chebukati and Commissioner Boya Molu when they appeared before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee on the audit queries at Parliament on Wednesday 01/11/18. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Details of how a Sh6.6 billion tender for election kits split commissioners at the electoral agency in the run-up to last year’s elections have emerged.

The commission spent Sh4,196,300,000 for the 45,000 Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) kits used in the August 8, 2018, polls and another Sh2.5 billion for the repeat presidential election on October 26.

Commissioners Abdi Guliye, Paul Kurgat and Boya Molu opposed awarding of the tender to supply the kits to French firm Safran Morpho through direct procurement.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati, then vice chairperson Connie Nkatha Maina, and commissioners Margaret Mwachanya and Roselyn Akombe, however, approved the contract that was proposed by the chief executive officer, Ezra Chiloba, who has since been sacked.

The revelations are contained in minutes of the commission’s plenary held on January 31, 2017, and which were tabled before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi yesterday.

Technical capacity

Mr Guliye, Mr Kurgat and Mr Molu rejected the contract on the basis that the French firm did not have the technical capacity to deliver on the poll kits. The trio further told the heated plenary session that there was no value for money in awarding Sh4.1 billion for the supply of the 45,000 kits.

The plenary minutes contradict earlier information given by Acting Chief Executive Officer Marjan Hussein that Mr Chiloba single-handedly procured the KIEMS kits without the approval of the commission.

Yesterday, Mr Chebukati remained cagey whether he approved the tender, stating that the commission directed the secretariat to procure the kits in accordance with the procurement law.

“The minutes we have forwarded speak for themselves, we were working under tight timelines. At the level we were in as a commission we approved the tender but told the secretariat to follow the law,” Chebukati explained.

The committee further expressed concern about the award of tenders for the repeat presidential election as there were no documents supporting them.

The commission's acting CEO told the committee that although he was the chairman of the evolution committee on the procurement of the KIEMS, he did not take part in the second tender for the repeat presidential election, which was done by Chiloba. “We followed the law for the direct procurement based on the advice that the Biometric Voter Registration kits we had were also being managed by the same company,” Mr Hussein told the MPs.

Earlier, Chebukati opposed the tabling of all the minutes, saying some of the information was confidential.