NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 24 The Justice Rawal Commission of Inquiry investigating the Ngong crash that killed six Kenyans has been told that the tender to procure the ill-fated helicopter was not publicly advertised.
Patricia Njeri Mambo, a supplies chain manager with the Kenya Police who appeared before the commission as witness number three said she does not know why the tender was never advertised.
The late George Saitoti’s family lawyer Fred Ngatia had earlier asked her if there was anything that hindered the advertising of the tender in local newspapers.
Ngatia: Madam, you got yourself in fairly deep water about restrictive tender, was there anything that would have prevented a newspaper advertisement that so and so intends to buy a helicopter
Mambo: I don’t know
Ngatia: You do not know… but would you agree with me that there is no impediment to placing an advertisement that you need a helicopter, telling bidders respond in 15 or 30 days, you can do that can’t you?
Mambo had taken the commission through the tender opening process which she said was done in the presence of the representative of the two companies which had been invited to the bid.
She was later asked to explain to the commission the difference between the restrictive tender that the Police Airwing had sought to use as opposed to a public tender which would have been opened to all manufacturers.
The commission heard on Tuesday that the Police Airwing had recommended invite bids be sent to Eurocopter and Afrique the handlers of Bell helicopters.
Mambo who told the commission that she had joined the supplies chain department in 2010, explained that it was advantageous for the police to have placed the bid because it was ‘less costly and fast’.
But when put to task by Ngatia, she could not defend her endorsement.
The commission was told on Monday that there were flaws in the tendering process that saw the Police Airwing acquire the helicopter from Eurocopter, a South African firm, against a single contender.
Ngatia said the tender had been limited to only two bidders, Eurocopter and Bell, in flagrant disregard to a report by a team of experts that the purchase of security helicopters be decentralized from the Office of the President.
Meanwhile, KWS Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Simon Mugo told the Commission that he had been invited to participate in the evaluation process of the tender after the process had begun.
Kenya Police lawyer Evans Monari and Ngatia clashed on the type of helicopter procured.
Ngatia: Administration Police purchased a Bell 407, its sister the Kenya Police purchased a Eurocopter.
Ngatia: Again I am looking for recommendation not blame game, if your advice had been sought what would you have advised?
But before the witness could respond, Monari interjected saying that was his mandate.
“I don’t want to interrupt but Mugo here does not know the requirement of the police to be able to say what type is best for them. He can only act according to the requirement of the client,” he said.
Kenya Civil Aviation Authority lawyer Ken Ogetto urged the commission not to accept opinion on technical matters from witnesses who are not experts on the ill-fated helicopter.
“I think we need to be careful in relations to opinions that may be peddled by witness who have absolutely no knowledge on certain matters because, if we do not do that then we may be misleading the public. This witness has clearly said that he is an expert in Bell aircrafts, he’s not even an expert in maintaining Eurocopter aircrafts”
Earlier, the commission held a two long private session with the late Saitoti’s family at the request of Ngatia.
The commission resumes its sittings on Wednesday at 9.30am.