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Former IEBC Vice Chairman Consolata Nkatha on Monday defended the commissioners’ involvement in the procurement of Sh4 billion KIEMs kits, saying they had no option.

Nkatha, who appeared before the National Assembly’s  Public Accounts Committee said the agency was fast running out of time.

She said a bold decision had to be made regarding the procurement of the Sh4 billion KIEMS kits used in the last General Election.

The law, however, restricts commissioners to formulation of the policies of the poll agency while secretariat has the exclusive mandate of overseeing procurement of all goods and services.

“Time was not on our side. If we did not do that then we would not have not had an election. The KIEMS kits were mandatory and the election was six months away,” Nkatha told the committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi.

“Sometimes you have to make a bold decision looking at the possible outcome if we failed to conduct the election” she Nkatha told the oversight committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi.

Nkatha also told MPs that both IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and Commissioner Abdi Guliye flouted some companies for the multi-billion shillings contract that further divided the commission.

Minutes of a  plenary meeting held at the commission’s boardroom on March 31, 2017, showed four commissioners voted for OT-Morpho to supply the 45,000 KIEMS kits, beating their rival camp by a vote. 

Chebukati voted alongside commissioners Nkatha, Roselyne Akombe and Margaret Mwachanya to approve the OT-Morpho deal, while commissioners Boya Molu, Paul Kurgat and Abdi Guliye opposed the idea.

 Kurgat’s team argued the deal did not offer value for money as they expressed strong opposition to the secretariat’s evaluation report.

Nkatha in a bare-knuckle attack on her former boss accused Chebukati of turning the commission into a one-man affair.

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She cited the controversial internal audit report which culminated to the sacking of the former CEO Ezra Chiloba. Nkatha said the audit was ordered by Chebukati with all other commissioners kept in the dark.

“During one of our plenary meetings, from nowhere the chairman removed an audit report from under the table and insisted that we discuss it. We protested and I even challenged the chairman to give me time to go over it and give my response. We eventually discussed it but could not agree,” Nkatha said.

“All we were asking for is why we are only doing an audit in one department –ICT – and not the nine departments of the commission. Again that was the period where we had an external auditor around and we were  wondering why we could not wait for the external auditors to give their report before we give ours internally.”

The PAC has been examining the special audit reports of IEBC for 2016/2017 in which Auditor General Edward Ouko questioned a number of contracts totalling billions of shillings.

Earlier, IBM East Africa Limited – company contracted to offer technical support to local IEBC servers – appeared before the committee to explain how they landed the multi-million contract to support the servers which ended up not being used.

According to IEBC records, IBM did an assessment for the server support and within one week, the Sh300 million tender was directly awarded to them.

Nicholas Nesbitt, IBM East Africa Limited General Manager, told the committee that the IEBC abandoned their services mid-way and instead used cloud servers after only paying Sh80 million of the contract sum.

Oracle Technological System Kenya – firm contracted to secure IEBC’s database – also appeared before the committee.

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