, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – The Office of the Auditor General on Thursday told the Public Accounts and Investments Committee of the Senate that the County Government of Machakos flouted procurement laws when it purchased material for the Kyumbi turn-off to Machakos Town street lighting project.
The total cost of poles purchased, the committee heard, was Sh12 million; Sh9 million above the Sh3 million cap set for direct purchases.
“Having looked at the documentation which has been provided by the County Government of Machakos, the total value of the project is Sh12 million, the threshold for competitive bidding is Sh3 million so in essence, this should have gone through the competitive tendering process.”
Mutua was also taken to task by Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale over the Sh200,000 cost for the first 10 poles purchased for the project.
“Were they concrete posts, were they metallic posts, or they were the ordinary posts that we see which go for an average of Sh5,000 at most Sh10,000. So how come you spent Sh200,000 instead of Sh100,000? And I want you to be very honest because there is a famous video in this country on you crying in public that you’re crying for the poor. If you really cry for the poor why did you spend Sh200,000 where you could have spent Sh50,000?”
Mutua’s explanation was that the rest of the 300 poles used in the project were purchased at Sh10,000 and promised to hold to account the officer responsible for the Sh100,000 over expenditure.
“When the cost was queried the poles came down to Sh10,000. I’m here to agree that the Sh20,000 was totally unacceptable and I’m going to hold responsible whoever did it. They need to pay back Sh100,000 to the county cause I’m one man who doesn’t believe in overpricing of goods.”
Khalwale and Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama held Mutua’s feet to the fire on the purchase after accusing him of seeking to deflect from the audit queries raised with regard to his county by the Office of the Auditor General.
They accused him of seeking to shift focus onto former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka’s land holdings in an effort to avoid being held to account.
“What does Musyoka’s purchase have to do with how you’ve been running the affairs of Machakos County?” Muthama posed.
Damaging allegations Khalwale and Nyamira Senator Mong’are Okongo were insistent be expunged from the record after succeeding in getting thrown out a lawyer’s letter written in February 2015 to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Ombudsman and National Lands Commission alleging that Musyoka had grabbed tracts of public land in Mavoko and Yatta and that he took a Sh350 million bribe from Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to join the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy.
The firm of Ndegwa and Ndegwa Associates in the letter signed by Mutua, also sought to know how the former Vice President who, “has no known profitable business undertakings,” could afford a Eurocopter they valued at Sh200 million.
READ: Mutua: Kalonzo grabbed NYS land, got Sh350m bribe to join CORD
And while Muthama was emphatic in his calls for the committee to stick to the audit queries raised on the Machakos County Government, Mutua pointed out that he did not refute the allegations that he was the conduit through which Musyoka received the aforementioned Sh350 million.
Remarks which he made a show of withdrawing and apologising for – on the orders of the committee chair – repeating them over and over again.
Mutua also accused Khalwale and Muthama of seeking to ‘cover-up’ for Musyoka saying the Senators were effectively sending out the message that some Kenyans were “untouchable” on account of their public standing. “We are all born of women,” he said.
Comments for which he earned a rebuke from the committee Chair and West Pokot Senator Professor John Lonyangapuo who told him, “don’t bring the politics of Machakos here.”