Kenya:No returning to IEBC, Chebukati tells former commissioners

By Samuel Ouma

Wafula Chebukati
Wafula Chebukati

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati has told off the former three commissioners that they are not wanted in the electoral body.

Vice Chairperson Consolata Maina, commissioners Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwachanya resigned in April 16, 2018 citing disunity. The three expressed their concerns over peddling misinformation, brewing mistrust and external meddling in the commissioner’s affairs. They faulted the chairperson for failure to provide leadership.

“The Commission chairperson has failed to be the steady and stable hand that steers the ship in difficult times and give direction when needed,” read the statement.

On Friday, 24 August 2018, Consolata Maina and Margaret Mwachanaya showed up at the polls agency’s offices causing uproar among different individuals. It is alleged they returned to serve the commission after the court ruled that their resignation was unprocedural. Judge Wilfred Okwany failed to recognize their exit saying no evidence to show they resigned. She said the commissioners did not write to President Uhuru Kenyatta as required by the law.

However, Mr. Chebukati has insisted they are not supposed to work at the agency saying they had returned all the assets of the commissions including vehicles, laptops, phones, badges. He added the former IEBC employees wrote to President Kenyatta but failed to copy the commission.

“IEBC does not have offices of former commissioners, as far as we are concerned, they are not supposed to be working here. They came on Friday, we were surprised to learn they had retained some of the keys which they had not handed over but that has now been rectified,” he said.

The commissioners attempt to enter the offices for second time on Monday, August 27, 2018 was thwarted after finding new locks. They suffered another blow when Mr. Chebukati refused to meet them. The chairperson demanded that they put what they want in writing.

This came barely a week after final audit exposed tender rot in the body during last General Elections and repeat presidential election. The audit report revealed that billions of shillings were lost as a result of acquisition of goods and services at exaggerated prices, lack of market survey.

According to the Audit, Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) used during repeat presidential election in October 26, 2017 was over-priced. It costs Ksh.2.5 billion, Ksh.1.5 more than what was spent during August polls. The cost of KIEMS kit preparation and set up which stood at Ksh.831.3 million is also said to have high-priced.

Training costs also increased. During General Elections and fresh presidential elections Ksh.181.9 million and Ksh.264.4 million were spent respectively.

The report further divulged that Airtel Mobile network provider was awarded tender to provide 1,553 Thuraya IP SIM loaded with data bundles even though the company was able to supply 1,000 units. It also emerged that Oracle Technology System Ltd provided oracle database and security solution at Ksh. 273.6 million without signing a contract.

On the provision of consultancy services, IEBC paid Scanad Kenya Ltd Ksh. 413 million above its budget of Ksh.350. The commission also contracted Transcend Media Group Ltd at Ksh. 447.4. A similar occurance was also noted in the tender for installation of primary and secondary data centre equipment. Africa Neurotech was awarded tender at Ksh.249.3 million above its budget of Ksh.130 million.

The audit also noted that Sufran Company Ltd charged IEBC Ksh.443.8 million for Election Day services, Ksh. 201.3 million more of what they charged during August polls.

The report implicates the suspended CEO Ezra Chiloba, the directorates of finance, Supply Chain Management, Legal and public affairs and ICT.

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