NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 27 – Sports Principal Secretary Ambassador Kirimi Kaberia was at pains to explain to the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) why the ministry opted to single source some of the suppliers for the IAAF World Under-18 Championships held in Nairobi last year.
Kaberia was appearing before the Opiyo Wandayi led committee on Monday to defend the ministry after an Auditor General’s 2016/2017 report disclosed that up to Sh1.7bn was lost during the week-long championships held at the Kasarani Stadium.
Kaberia maintained that the Ministry conducted itself with total transparency and fairness in all its undertakings in organizing the event, but this was put to sharp criticism from the committee which questioned why the Ministry blatantly chose to violate the Public Procurement Act.
MPs led by Wandayi, Otiende Amollo (Rarieda), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) questioned the Ministry decision to violate the procurement laws that call for a competitive pubic tender process arguing that the Ministry had sufficient time to engage the public in a fair tender process.
According to the Auditor General’s findings, a total of Sh349 million was incurred through direct procurement.
“Why did the Ministry single source suppliers yet the process could have been done differently,” posed Amollo.
A total of Sh71mn was spent on Windsor, Safaripark and Kasarani Sports view Hotels and according to Kaberia the hotels were identified as per the Events Organizing Agreement (EOA) and the IAAF inspection reports.
Further, Kaberia revealed that contracted directly were IAAF Event sponsors: Safaricom, Sarova and Parapet at a cost of Sh145mn.
“The sourcing of hotels was informed by the international standards set by IAAF. For instance, Safari Park Hotel met the international classification and was near the venue. The selection of Sarova Hotels was based on classification and experience of handling international symposiums,” he said.
More astounding to the bemuse of the lawmakers, Kaberia revealed that a total of Sh3mn was used to purchase mobile phones for the Local Organizing Committee and IAAF staff during the event to enhance communication.
Kaberia however failed to explain if the devices were recovered something which angered Kiharu lawmaker Nyoro.
“You purchased mobile phones for a certain group of people yet when the event was over the Ministry did not bother to get back the devices in what seems to be a clear case of clear misuse of public funds,” he said.
Among the suppliers who also pocketed millions from the Ministry is Pewin Cabs Limited who were procured to offer transport services without competitive bidding at a cost of Sh23mn above the market rate.
The same company was also given another contract for the dry cleaning and laundry services under Sports Kenya at a cost of Sh30mn.
Close to 80 firms have been named in the Sh1.7 billion saga that threatens to hurt the image of the management of sports in the country ahead of the IAAF World Under-20 Championship whose hosting rights were awarded to Kenya a month ago.
Kaberia however assured members that the Ministry would do more to ensure that the 2020 feat is devoid of any scandal through enhancing its conduct by improving systems that would facilitate accountability and transparency.