Chebukati awarded his firm, fronted others for contracts, claims Chiloba

Electoral commission boss Wafula Chebukati. [Photo, File]

A law firm associated with electoral commission boss Wafula Chebukati was awarded contracts by the agency, MPs were told.

Appearing before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee, sacked Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chief executive Ezra Chiloba accused Mr Chebukati of conflict of interest.

He said he confronted Chebukati on the contracts awarded to Cootow and Associates. 

Chebukati reportedly said he had resigned from the law firm before joining IEBC, so there was no problem.

The law firm was contracted to represent the commission in fighting poll petitions in Likoni, Ikolomani and Kilifi North constituencies. Others were petitions challenging the election of woman representative polls in Mombasa and Kilifi counties as well as governor in Migori.

Mr Chiloba claimed that commissioners pushed for various interests in the procurement of the Sh6.6 billion Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) kits.

He said Commissioner Abdi Guliye brought in an international firm - Smartmatic - that sought to lease the election kits to IEBC.

The beleaguered former chief executive claimed that Prof Guliye walked into a crisis meeting and said the most viable option was to lease the equipment.

“I told Chebukati that there was going to be a crisis and asked him if he believed in leasing and he said no. In fact I was actually preparing to leave the commission because I was going through so many difficulties,” he said.

IEBC in a subsequent plenary meeting, he said, adopted a resolution to lease the system from the company against a proposal by the management team to upgrade some BVR kits to be used for the mandatory May 10 voter verification.

Chiloba dismissed claims by Chebukati that he single-handedly procured election materials without competitive bidding.

“I have seen a statement issued by Chebukati which is misleading and a misrepresentation of facts. This is unfair to the public,” he said.

He claimed that the commissioners held several meetings to decide the contract, adding that Chebukati and his team at one time told him they could not be “flower girls” in procurement matters.

“On February 28, 2017, when approving direct procurement for KIEMS, the intention of the commission was that the secretariat write to Safran expressing intention to retain their services,” he said.

"In a further meeting held on March 15, 2017, after reviewing the status of KIEMS procurement, the commission directed the secretariat to lease the equipment with immediate effect.”