Governors put to task over tenders

Governors Josphat Nanok (Turkana) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi).

Governors Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and Josphat Nanok (Turkana) are on the anti-graft agency's radar over suspected procurement irregularities that may have cost taxpayers millions of shillings.

In Kilifi, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is investigating how a tender for the construction and equipping of a Sh400 million Covid-19 medical complex was awarded.

The commission also suspects that tender for supply of the facility's intensive care beds at Sh1.6 million per bed may have been flawed.

Mr Nanok has been asked by the anti-graft agency to explain, on Wednesday, May 27, the procurement of a Sh42 million fire engine.

“This commission is conducting investigations relating to (suspected) procurement irregularities in purchase of a fire engine by the county government of Turkana from Winston International,” stated EACC in a letter summoning the governor.

Also summoned is the Turkana County's head of procurement Richard Emoru Oboo and the chief officer-finance Joseph Emathe Namuar. The governor's personal assistant is also expected to be questioned.

An official aware of the probe said a testimony by the proprietor of the company that won the fire engine tender may have led the EACC to suspect that it was irregularly awarded.

The governor did not respond to our queries on the matter yesterday.

Another official said the commission was also investigating Nanok on suspect dealings with Tullow Oil.

Nanok joins the list of governors facing investigation over suspected graft in their administrations.

Covid-19 jerricans

Bungoma’s Wycliff Wangamati is being investigated by EACC over procurement of jerricans to fight Covid-19.

In Kilifi, the Sh400 million Covid-19 medical facility that was recently commissioned is at the centre of the probe after it emerged that the construction cost was varied by more than 25 per cent, in violation of the procurement law and regulations.

Officials say the initial cost of the building was estimated to be Sh300 million, but the figure signed in the contract was Sh400 million.

The EACC also suspects that a vocal politician from the region was awarded the tender to supply the facility's ICU beds at Sh1.6 million each. “The building was not meant for a hospital, but was supposed to be part of county government offices," said an official aware of the investigations.

Twalib Mbarak, EACC's boss, said the commission was investigating the hospital and the equipment supplied to establish whether there was value for money.

“Even though it was done to mitigate the effects of coronavirus, we want to establish if there is value for money,” said Mr Mbarak.

In a letter by EACC's Upper Coast region head Ignatius Wekesa to County Secretary Arnold Jeffer Mkare, and which was copied to the governor, the commission requested for original documents related to the construction of the complex, procurement of the ward and ICU beds, and ventilators.

“... kindly but urgently provide us with the original files containing all the documents; the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) trail for all payments, appointment letter for inspection and acceptance committee,” read Wekesa’s letter to Mkare.