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PPOA opposed Tokyo embassy deal, court hears

By By FRED MAKANA | May 21st 2014


Senior State officials purchased the Tokyo property directly despite the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) opposing the move, a trial court has heard.

Testifying in a case in which former Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Thuita Mwangi is charged alongside Kenyan embassy’s Charge d’affaires Allan Mburu and Anthony Muchiri are accused of illegally approving the purchase of property in Tokyo for the embassy and ambassador’s residence, Kirinyaga Governor Joseph Ndathi, the then director of administration in the ministry, informed court that he chaired the ministerial tender committee.

“My advice was that we should not follow that route as we were already past the financial year and in my wisdom I was looking at the time that was left given the long procurement procedures in acquiring such a property,” Ndathi testified. Ndathi said he learnt about the purchase of the Tokyo property on January 12 after reporting back after his vacation. He said the matter of purchasing the Tokyo property came up in the meeting of March 12, 2009 and the tender committee deliberated on the issue but given the amount involved in the purchase, it was recommended that the PPOA be consulted for guidance.

He said they contacted PPOA through the ministerial committee secretary Erick Korir on April 3, 2009 for advice and the way forward. “We communicated with the director general of PPOA for authority and the specifically permitted procurement procedure.” Ndathi said.

He said in its response on April 15, 2009, PPOA said after scrutinising documents of the intended purchase, it noted that the purchase did not qualify as per the laid down procurement procedures.

Moderate meetings

“The advice of authority was that the property be acquired through the relevant procedures as set out in the Public Procurement and Disposal Act so that the ministry could realise value for the Tokyo property,” he said. However, Ndathi informed court, the ministry opted to purchase the property directly after it was approved by the ministerial tender committee meeting of April 24, 2009. Ndathi told court that the tender committee was responsible for approval and his role was to moderate the meetings.

Ndathi said the then Foreign Affairs PS informed his Treasury counterpart that the acquisition of the property was part of the cost cutting measures taken by the ministry.

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