NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 27 – Former CEO of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) James Oswago has dismissed the Auditor General’s special report which has accused him mismanaging the procurement of electronic voter kits.
Oswago told the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), that the report is inaccurate and unfair to him as he was not involved in the procurement.
He told MPs that contrary to the Auditor General’s assertion, he did not unilaterally terminate the tender and instead says it was cancelled after a full commission meeting.
Oswago claimed that the procurement laws had been breached several times to ensure a specific contractor wins the Sh3.9 million tender before a decision was taken to cancel the tender.
In a Special Audit on the Procurement of the Electronic Voter Identification Devices for the 2013 General Election by the IEBC, Edward Ouko accused Oswago for mismanaging the BVR tender, leading to costlier government-to-government procurement.
Oswago was charged in court over the procurement of the BVRs and Electronic Voter Identification Devices (EVIDs) that largely failed during voting.
“If competitive bidding process was a success, 9,750 BVR kits costing approximately Sh4 billion could have been enough to register Kenyans for the General Election, but due to delays in procurement process 15,000 BVR kits costing approximately Sh6.2 billion were purchased,” said Auditor General Edward Ouko in his report.
He also faulted Oswago for appointments to the Tender Evaluation and Due Diligence Committees respectively.
The Auditor-General also found the IEBC chairman Issack Hassan culpable for allowing Tim Colby to sit in a meeting discussing a government-to-government procurement option.
The Auditor General said Colby’s presence set grounds for single sourcing of government of Canada and Morpho of Canada, which resulted to government being supplied BVR kits at inflated prices.
The government entered into an agreement with Canada to supply 15,000 BVR kits through the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) financing.
The initial tender was awarded at a cost of Sh3.9 billion but the government secured a concessionary loan from Canada worth Sh4.6 billion.
Former Finance Minister Robinson Githae was also found culpable of delaying to send specifications and timelines to the Government of France in response to their request directed by the Cabinet Committee on Implementation of the Constitution.
The Public Accounts Committee in June 2014 ordered a forensic probe into the procurement after it emerged that the electoral body may have ignored the advice of the Director of ICT on the risks of the electronic voter identification devices and went ahead to implement the project.
Speaker Justin Muturi ordered a probe into the matter after Minority Coalition Deputy Leader Jakoyo Midiwo sought a statement from PAC on the procurement of the voter kits.