In a rather shocking tenderpreneurs scam in the country, Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) disclosed horrifying cases of theft of public funds.
While tabling a report to a Senate committee on Wednesday, EACC revealed how some county conmen have taken looting of public resources to shocking new levels.
In one case, a normal serving tray, perhaps made from rare metal, was bought at Sh6,490, the report says. The tray normally cost Sh 500 or less.
In another case, “rare” gas, in a 13kg cylinder, which normally costs less than Sh2,000, was bought at Sh15,000.
Better yet, another county bought normal thermos flask, which goes for say Sh 1000, at Sh8,697.
The report was a clear manifestation of how rogue county officials manipulate the tendering process where prices of common items are increased many times over.
EACC vice-chair Sophia Lepuchirit and Commissioner Dabar Abdi Maalim
told the Senate County Public Accounts and Investments Committee (CPAIC) that county officials inflate cost of commodities in procurement of goods and services.
Governors also reward their cronies with multi-billion-shilling tenders.
“The commission’s team undertaking system review came across an invoice from a caterer where a 13 kg gas cylinder was purchased at Sh15,000, a steel flask at Sh8,697 and a serving a tray at Sh6,490,” Maalim said in reference to research, done between 2015 and 2017.
“The contracts were awarded without due regard to procurement laws and relevant guidelines,” he added.
During the session, it was revealed that the EACC was currently handling 145 active investigations related to counties.
In addition, another 55 county investigations had reached the stage of evidence by the commission according to Lepuchirit.
“This is the final stage in the investigations conducted by EACC meaning some of the files will soon be presented to the office of the director of Public Prosecutions with the recommendation as per the law,” Lepuchirit said.
Since 2017, the anti-graft body had received a total of 2, 903 reports on county governments as well 90 reports on county assemblies. The reports were made through the commission headquarters, 11 regional offices and 50 Huduma Centres.
Furthermore, the process of devolution has led to an increase of patronage in county-level procurement processes.
A survey among government officials concluded that procurement fraud is prevalent, particularly on the county level.
Companies report diversion of public funds and favoritism in the decisions of public officials to be common.