, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 – Attorney General Githu Muigai has absolved his office from blame over the delayed acquisition of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
In a statement on Monday, Muigai said that his office only received the Financing Agreement on Monday morning, almost a month after a contract was signed between the IEBC, the Treasury and the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC).
The AG said: “The financing agreement was this (Monday) morning at 8:30am submitted by the Treasury to this Office for the advice of the Attorney-General. The relevant technical team in this Office is now working to render that advice in the shortest time possible.”
The AG was categorical the role of his office as the government’s legal advisor was to scrutinise contracts and agreements, to be able to advise on their legality and constitutionality.
He insisted that his office was neither a procuring nor a financing office for other government offices and that it was not the responsibility of his office to authorise procurement or payment by other government offices.
The AG further expressed disappointment by the IEBC’s failure to formally liaise with his office on the status of the Financing Agreement and instead chose to communicate with him through the media.
“The financing agreement was this (Monday) morning at 8:30am submitted by the Treasury to this Office for the advice of the Attorney-General. The relevant technical team in this Office is now working to render that advice in the shortest time possible.”
“It is deeply regrettable that the IEBC has decided to conduct government business in the media, yet a simple telephone call is all that it would have taken to clear this matter up,” he said in the statement.
IEBC chairman Isaack Hassan was quoted by a local daily accusing the AG of delaying groundwork for the election by failing to give Treasury the nod to issue letters of credit (LC) to Safran Morpho, the French company chosen to supply 15,000 BVR kits.
IEBC targets to register 18 million voters when the process commences and is expected to open the register for inspection for another month after registration is closed.
Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee is this week expected to summon IEBC and the Treasury officials over the contract after it emerged that the AG’s office was kept in the dark when the Treasury released the initial payment Sh2.4 billion.