AG’s office ‘left out’ in voter listing kits deal

What you need to know:

  • Contract to procure equipment had some flaws which triggered alarm bells

Procurement of 15,000 voter registration kits may have been done without Attorney-General Githu Muigai’s approval.

Flaws in a contract signed by the Treasury and Canadian Commercial Corporation are said to have caused alarm at the A-G’s office.

The Nation established that the Treasury released Sh2.4 billion as down-payment to French supplier Safran Morpho without the AG’s approval.

Finance PS Joseph Kinyua signed the contract on behalf of the Government of Kenya while the corporation’s director David Olsen signed for Canada in a deal that will see Kenya pay Sh1.1 billion more for the kits.

Electoral commission chief executive James Oswago signed the document as a witness.

“We wrote to the Treasury raising several questions on the tender. The commission and the Treasury wrote back, giving an undertaking that the issues raised had been addressed,” Prof Muigai said.

He said his office does not sign contracts but points out any legal loopholes that may lead to loss of State funds.

On Friday, Public Accounts Committee chairman Boni Khalwale said his team will next week summon the electoral commission and the Treasury officials over the contract.

“We raised our concerns about the wishy-washy nature of the company they are dealing with but they ignored us. Now we risk pushing the election date forward and losing Kenyans’ money,” he said.

Mr Khalwale said his team had been informed that the Treasury was afraid of issuing a letter of credit to the supplier because the AG’s office declined to approve the deal.

Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi has urged the commission to come clean on the matter, saying it would be sad if the election date had to be changed because of the late arrival of the equipment.

But commission member Mohammed Alawi dismissed as rumours reports that the procurement of the 15,000 kits was in jeopardy, saying plans to registers 18 million voters were on course.

“Kenyans should not panic because everything is on course,” he said.