Kenyan Minister defends Passat deal

November 9, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 9 – Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday exonerated Treasury of any breach of law in the procurement of 120 Volkswagen Passat vehicles for senior government officials.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC), Mr Kenyatta said that the Finance Ministry was not involved in tendering for the vehicles but only used pre-qualified tenders approved by the Supplies Officer at the Ministry Public Works.

The Minister said that there was no personal preference on CMC motors as the supplier as alleged by some politicians and a section of PAC members. He said the Ministry only used the framework available which is legally the responsibility of the Ministry of Public Works.

“The tender notice was advertised by the Ministry of Public Works on July 13,” said Mr Kenyatta who is also a Deputy Prime Minister.

“The Minister for Finance has no interests in CMC Motors whether personally or by proxy, directly or indirectly. The purchase passes the test of integrity, transparency, accountability and public confidence as set in the law.”

Mr Kenyatta introduced the 1800cc Passat models during this year’s Budget Speech in an ambitious measure to cut government expenditure by Sh2 billion annually.

Replacement of the fuel guzzlers by the Passat started towards the end of last month and is currently ongoing.

Members of Parliament have however raised fingers with the choice of the CMC Motors with some alleging that the procurement was done through single sourcing. Others had alleged that the Sh3.7 million per vehicle spent by the government was way above the marker rate.

The DPM however dispelled the claims saying that the Sh2.3 million price being quoted was duty free and could not apply since the government abolished the free duty rule three years ago.

“The Mercedes you people have been referring to at Sh3.4 is duty free. The duty paid price for the same is Sh6.2 million which is over Sh2 million more compared to the Passat,” he said.

Mr Kenyatta was backed by a battalion of technocrats from Treasury led by Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua.

There were however queries on why the Treasury used prequalification tenders for the 2008/2009 in the procurement. “Was there a meeting at Treasury to discuss the extension of the tender?” questioned Tharaka MP Muiru Mburi.

“It is the job of the Supplies Officer to ensure that there is a pre-qualified tender at any time. The law provides for any extension when need arises,” said the Finance Minister clarifying that the extension was done by the Supplies Officer and not Treasury officials.


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