SECTIONS

IEBC requires Sh4.5b more to fund elections, Parliament told

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The electoral commission requires an additional Sh4.5 billion to deliver free and fair elections, MPs heard yesterday.

While presenting proposals for additional funding before the Justice and Legal Affair Committee (JLAC), the commission’s acting Chief Executive Officer, Marjan Hussein Marjan, said the money will cater for General Election costs.

Voter verification, which is expected to begin in April, will require Sh1.3 billion while legal fees will gobble up another Sh3 billion.

“If we don’t get allocation for verification, it means we will do it the same way we have done the enhanced voter registration; that is, three Biometric Voter Registration Kits (BVR) per ward. With allocation we will deploy more resources to reach more people,” said Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) boss.

JLAC was scrutinising proposals for the Supplementary Budget from different government agencies, including the Judicial Service Commission, Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission among others.

Allocations

IEBC hopes that allocations from the Supplementary Budget will help it clear pending bills amounting to Sh2.3 billion. The unpaid bills, which Kigano described as “the highest in the country”, were categorised as legal fees (Sh1.3 billion), 2017 ICT bills (Sh798.7 million), 2020/2021 new bills (Sh33 million), other pending bills (Sh76.8 milllion) and invalidated bills (Sh74.8 million).

Unpaid bills from legal fees, which account for 57 per cent of the unpaid bills, are as a result of petitions filed by or against IEBC after elections and attracted admonition from the House committee.

“Considering you have some of the best minds in election laws, we should not be seeing these pending bills on legal fees all the time,” said Kigano.

Marjan said failure to settle the pending bills will lead to some suppliers withdrawing services and goods meant to support conducting of by-elections and other functions of the commission.

“We, therefore, appeal for consideration by the JLAC for funding to ensure that the commission is not negatively affected in its short-term and long-term functions and operations,” he said.

Kigano asked IEBC to present documents related to all the pending bills for scrutiny. The process is expected to commence in two weeks.

“We want to rest the perceptions that these could be used as conduits of some form of fraud,” he said.

If IEBC’s proposal sails through, legal fees will account for 66.6 per cent of the total Sh4.5 billion it has asked for.

Mandera West MP Adan Haji said the necessary funds will be allocated to ensure the election process continues without a hitch.

Meanwhile, Marjan said voter registration will continue until February 28 within constituencies and in all 52 Huduma Centres countrywide.