Chebukati sets own trap in 6 billion cash loss

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And the show goes on in our country where every day we learn how we have lost money.

The Chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Wafula Chebukati has added a new twist to the loss of KSh 6 billion in direct procurement of the Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System (KIEMS) kits ahead of the repeat presidential election in 2017. In the new revelation, Chebukati said the commission gave the then CEO Ezra Chiloba-led secretariat a go ahead to directly procure the kits from French firm, Safran Morpho.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday, October 31, Chebukati said the commission approved the direct procurement of the KSh 6.5 billion election materials due to time constraints.

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“The minute 175 speaks for itself. Go on in accordance with the law. Timelines affected our decision, court process too. Direct procurement was the only option we had,” said the chairman.

Chebukati’s statement contradicted the one issued by the commission on Tuesday, October 30, indicating sacked Chiloba opted for the procurement against advice from the commission.

“Chiloba was the accounting officer at the time and as I recall he ignored advise from other members of the secretariat regarding procuring of services and goods needed to make the election a success,” said acting CEO Marjan Hussein.

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Chebukati said the approval was in accordance with the law that required the commission to use the same supplier of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system for the purpose of standardisation and compatibility of the systems.

Parliament had demanded Wafula appear before it on Wednesday, October 31, to answer to audit queries which fellow commissioners appeared to blame on Chiloba. The Public Accounts Committee headed by MP Opiyo Wandayi summoned the electoral body’s chair after failing to appear alongside other commissioners.

It is understood that three IEBC commissioners voted against the company while the other four led by Chebukati approved the secretariat to procure the KIEMS from Safran Morpho weeks from the repeat presidential election. The development will no doubt raise questions on why the commission seems not to be speaking in one voice at a time Chiloba has maintained his services were unfairly terminated.

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