Another scandal? IEBC pressured to pay Sh1.5b

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ( IEBC) is under pressure to pay over Sh1.5 billion to a supplier who failed to deliver election kits. Some brokers, led by a prominent MP from North Eastern and working with a cartel that has infiltrated both IEBC and Treasury, want IEBC’s Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba to pay Equip Agencies Ltd for supplying Universal Polling Kits (UPK).

This is even after the Auditor General established the supplier did not deliver. IEBC had contracted Equip Agencies Ltd to supply 34,000 kits ahead of the 2013 General Election but, according to Auditor General Edward Ouko, only a fraction of the kits were delivered a year after the hotly contested polls.

A special audit report for the 2013 elections dated June 2014 established that only 5,000 kits were delivered, and it was done a year after the polls. “As at the time of the audit, only 5,000 hand-held metal detectors of brand PT 1001 had been delivered and were still in the warehouse at Supplies Branch located on Likoni Road, which had been delivered in April 2014, a year after the elections,” the report said.

Even with this damning report, IEBC has been slapped with a Sh1.53 billion bill, with sources indicating that Chiloba is under pressure from powerful cartels both from the commission and Treasury to pay.  “The commission secretariat is being pushed to process the payment even with the damning audit findings. Powerful forces within IEBC and Treasury are insisting the contract still holds and he must pay,” a senior member of the commission who asked not to be named told The Standard.

When contacted, Chiloba said he was in a meeting and would call back later. However, by the time of going to Press, he was yet to honour his word. The kits included metal detectors, first aid kits and fire extinguishers, which the Inspector General of Police had requested IEBC to purchase in a letter dated August 2, 2012, to enhance security during the polls. Although the procurement exercise began in 2012, the process incurred delays with the actual contract being awarded in 2013.

Although they were meant for the 2013 polls, the kits were not delivered and as a result, the use changed to presidential inauguration and general public security, according to letters availed to the auditors. IEBC had instructed the Supplies Branch in the defunct Ministry of Public Works to procure UPK on November 2, 2012, although there was no budget and funding had not been secured for the items.

On September 22, 2012, IEBC commissioners in a plenary meeting approved the procurement of the kits. Non-strategic election As a result, Oswago, in a letter dated November 2, 2012, requested the PS Ministry of Public Works to procure the kits on their behalf.

Also, in a letter dated February 20, IEBC asked the PS to buy 34,000 UPKs. The kits were to be procured through the supplies branch, and each was to comprise of non-strategic election materials like papers, pens and rubbers.

“This, however, is contrary to the requirements of the Public Procurement and Disposal Regulations, Act 2006 Section 9 (a) which requires that a user department shall be responsible for initiating procurement and disposal requirements and forwarding them to the procurement unit,” the report says.

Contract number S/69462 for supply of stationery items (Part 2) between Ministry of Public Works, Supplies Branch and Equip Agencies Ltd was awarded on 11 February 2013. LPO number 164827 dated 2 March 2014 was issued for supply of 34,000 UPK to Equip Agencies Ltd. It was signed by then Public Works Permanent Secretary Gideon Mulyungi, as the accounting officer in the ministry, and the officer in charge of supplies branch, WM Nyariki on March 1, 2013, and by the Equip Agencies Ltd, director Vinesh Patel and sales manager James Waweru on February 27, 2013.