NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – The Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly has recommended the exit of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chiefs led by Chairman Wafula Chebukati-for failing in their mandate.
The recommendations contained in a report tabled in the National Assembly late Wednesday, seeks charges for some of them for leading the commission to losses amounting to billions of shillings.
The parliamentary watchdog also recommended that former IEBC chief executive, Ezra Chiloba be investigated for signing contracts worth Sh4.3 billion, without the contractors providing performance guarantees contrary to provisions of Section 142 (1) of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015.
“Whereas the Committee notes that he has since been removed from the Commission, the Committee particularly makes the following observations with regard to his role as CEO. Poor planning and mismanagement of the procurement processes in relation to the whole election process of both August and October 2017, thereby creating an environment of opaqueness, secrecy and anxiety.”
“The Committee received evidence relating to specific incidences to support impropriety in the conduct of the following Commissioners and hence forming the basis for the Committee’s recommendation that the said Commissioners vacate office immediately upon the adoption of this Report, Wafula Chebukati – Chairperson; Consolata Maina – Vice Chairperson; Margaret Mwachanya – Commissioner; (Prof.) Abdi Guliye – Commissioner; Boya Molu – Commissioner; and Paul Kurgat – Commissioner,” the report stated.
According to the parliamentary committee, the evidence received depicted a Commission running on auto-pilot.
“The Commissioners, individually and collectively, failed to exercise oversight as envisioned under section 11A(a) of the Independent E l e c t o r a l a n d Boundaries Commission Act, 2011 thereby plunging the Institution into a crisis,” it stated.
PAC stated that upon adoption of its report tabled in the House, the relevant investigative agencies should institute investigations on the conduct of the commissioners, CEO, directors involved with a view to initiating prosecution, where culpability is established.
The Opiyo Wandayi-led Commitee said the commissioners failed to exercise oversight, while the secretariat demonstrated poor planning, which plunged the electoral body into crisis that compelled the IEBC to undertake direct procurement of critical goods and services, in a manner that was contrary to provisions of Article 227(1) of the Constitution.
“As a result, the Commissioners failed to take charge of the entire electoral process in the 2017 electoral cycle. This evinces an inexcusable level of incompetence given the importance of their role in the electoral processes in the country as expressed in Article 88 of the Constitution.”
The Committee described it as a clear case of incompetence as the Commissioners demonstrated a lack of understanding of their role.
“Conflict of interest and glaring instances of gross misconduct were manifest during the procurement of the KIEMS Kits the Commissioners opted to vote in favour of their preferred suppliers as evidenced in MINUTE 12-15/03/2017 of the Special Plenary Meeting held on 31st March 2017,” it stated.
It further pointed out that Chebukati, in serious violation of Chapter Six of the Constitution presided over allocation of legal work to his former law firm without disclosing this relationship or even cautioning the Secretariat of the same.
“These constitute solid grounds for the removal of the Commissioners from office under Article 251 of the Constitution. The Committee accordingly recommends their removal from office forthwith.”
The report also observed that there seemed to be an unending tug of war and tuff-fencing between the Secretariat and the Commissioners.
“In the clear lack of policy direction from the Commissioners, the Secretariat operated as if the Commissioners did not exist. In the ensuing scenario the Senior Staff of the Secretariat, Individually and collectively, failed to plan, execute or implement the policies and strategies of the Commission as envisioned under section 11A(b) of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Act, 2011,” it stated.