Through the admission of Chebukati it then became apparent that the commission approved the direct procurement of the 6.5 billion shillings election materials due to time constraints, sentiments which now in a way absolves Chiloba of any wrong doing as earlier told/CFM NEWS
, NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 31 – Details have emerged of how commissioners at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) differed on which route to take in procuring goods meant for last year’s poll and the repeat presidential poll.
The commission’s decision to directly procure the Kenya integrated management systems kits (KIEMS) as outlined in the agency’s minutes that were tabled before a parliamentary committee on Wednesday brought to the fore of how the Commission was split on whether to directly procure the kits or call for a competitive tender process.
The revelations which played out in the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee grilling session of top IEBC officials led by its Chair Wafula Chebukati came hot on the heels after the agency gave a different narrative that squarely blamed the former CEO Ezra Chiloba of single handedly sanctioning the procurement of the kits.
When he appeared before the Opiyo Wandayi led committee (Ugunja) on Tuesday, the electoral body acting Chief Executive Officer Marjan Hussein shifted the blame to Chiloba accusing him of being responsible for the procurement of the kits that cost the tax payer Sh6 billion.
On Wednesday however, minutes which the Chebukati led team were reluctant to share with members of the committee in the presence of the media – seeking an in-camera session, a plea that was rejected by the majority of the lawmakers – disclosed how the commissioners disagreed during a previous plenary session on how the kits were to be acquired.
“Some of the documents in our possession like the minutes obtained from previous meetings are confidential and cannot be tabled where members of the fourth estate are around. For instance, the features contained in the ballot papers are elements which should remain the commission’s secret,” said Chebukati.
The minutes which were read by Suna East MP Junet Mohammed indicated that Chebukati, former commissioners Consolata Nkatha, Roselyn Akombe and Margaret Mwachanya approved the purchase of the kits under the recommendation of Chiloba.
Former commissioners Abdi Guliye, Paul Kurgat and the current commissioner Boya Molu however opposed the purchase of the kits questioning whether indeed there was value for money.
The contents of the minutes once read immediately sparked protest from commissioner Molu who said that the details once disseminated to the public would endanger some of the commissioner lives.
“By reading the entire content of the minutes you are telling the world who voted how and that touches to the individual security and if the document is to be read on its entirety it rather instead be done in-camera,” protested Molu.
Mohammed responded that he was obliged to read the contents of the minutes because the concerns he raised were outlined in the Auditor General Edward Ouko 2016/2017 financial report that flagged the procurement anomalies.
Through the admission of Chebukati it then became apparent that the commission approved the direct procurement of the 6.5 billion shillings election materials due to time constraints, sentiments which now in a way absolves Chiloba of any wrong doing as earlier told.
Chebukati said the approval given to the secretariat, led by sacked CEO Chiloba, was that the procurement was to be done in accordance with the law.
“We had no option to approve the decision to acquire the kits through direct procurement because we had no time,” said Chebukati.
According to Chebukati the contract for the supply of the 45, ooo KIEMS kits was awarded to a firm on 31 March 2017.
Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo said there was nothing wrong disclosing the contents of the minutes and cited the information public act that requires state agencies to provide publish any piece of information that is deemed to be of public interest.
“Section 6 of the access to the information act dictates that all information held by any public is deemed public except if it among other things poses a security threat to the country,” said Amollo.