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Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery blames broker for Government tenders

NAIROBI
By Alphonce Shiundu | November 5th 2015
Internal security Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery addresses news reporters before holding security meeting with Mombasa police bosses at Uhuru ni Kazi building in Mombasa. He wants more tourists to visit Kenya as security is improving. 29th August 2015. [Photo/Omondi Onyango/Standard]

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery (pictured) yesterday complained that a powerful broker has been “shuttling” between President Kenyatta’s office at Harambee House and that of his deputy William Ruto at Harambee House Annex attempting to influence multi-billion-shilling tenders.

The confession that there was an outsider in Government who was powerful enough to intimidate the Cabinet secretary – a former military general —is puzzling and rekindles the public declaration by the President some months ago that the Office of the President was a bastion of corruption in Government.

Though he did not mention names, Mr Nkaissery said the unnamed broker had lost out on the tender to supply helicopters, ammunition and arms for the National Police Service, and now wanted the intervention of the country’s top two bosses. The helicopter overhaul tender cost Sh1.4 billion.

Auditor General Edward Ouko, through his top managers, told the parliamentary watchdog committee that there were payments worth Sh3.8 billion in security contracts whose documents needed to be verified.

The queries arose because the bulk of the payments worth about Sh2 billion were all made in one day – June 30, 2015 – the last day of the last financial year, and paid into accounts at the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and the National Bank of Kenya.

The money, the Interior boss claimed, was paid to Chinese, Israeli and even local car subsidiaries, with DT Dobie getting Sh59 million while Toyota Kenya got Sh56 million.

 SECURITY ITEMS

Another payment of Sh1.6 billion to Pioneer Insurance was made on September 19, 2014, while Sh245 million was paid on March 3 this year to Steyr Mannlincher (Deftech Limited) for unspecified security items.

The Auditor General had sought payment vouchers and a “consultative meeting” with the managers of the Interior ministry, but none has been granted, and had to ask the Public Accounts Committee to weigh in.

But Nkaissery sensationally claimed some of the questions the MPs were asking regarding the multi-million-shilling helicopter tender “had been framed by people who lost out” – suggesting that the faceless merchant was peddling his influence within parliamentary watchdog committees.

Nkaissery spoke as he denied allegations before the Public Accounts Committee that the tender for helicopters was single-sourced and was therefore not competitive; that the Government bought second-hand arms and ammunition from “friendly merchants”.

Committee Chairman Nicholas Gumbo mentioned one firm – Prime - but Nkaissery said he had never heard of the firm. The CS insisted that the State could not buy second-hand firearms.

The chopper tender is being investigated by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. But the Auditor General insisted he needed payment vouchers to ascertain the billions paid for “security items” were genuine.

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