City Hall has been put on the spot for spending a whopping Sh6.3 million on fireworks for New Year celebrations.
The expenditure is one of the audit queries raised by the Auditor General report into the 2016/2017 financial year spending by the county government.
It also emerged that the county government contravened the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2015 by applying a restricted tendering process in order to favour the company which supplied the fireworks products.
The report questioned why City Hall applied restricted tender instead of an open tender in procuring the fireworks.
The Auditor General further poked holes into the payment process saying that the payment vouchers lacked contract documents rendering the propriety of the expenditure dubious as it could not be confirmed.
Nairobi County Cooperatives and Tourism Chief Officer Machira Gichohi, while appearing before the County Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC), was put to task to explain the flawed procurement process and the seemingly inflated fireworks expenditure.
Kilimani MCA Moses Ogeto revealed that even prior to the procurement process being initiated, the department had already floated two companies with specific quantities in miligrams of the fireworks that were to be used.
He further explained that indicating the tender committee meeting was held on December 22, 2016 several days after a Local Purchase Order (LPO) had already been given out to the preferred company named as M/s Tononoka Limited.
“The meeting was done on December 22, 2016 during Christmas holiday while the local purchase order was done on December 18 and the payments done on December 16. How is this even possible? ” posed Mr Ogeto.
But appearing before the committee last week, Mr Gichohi could not explain the anomalies in the tendering process but defended the expenditure saying that such celebrations can make Nairobi be headline in media platform such as CNN and as a result attract more tourists.
He explained that the fireworks were used at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) on the night of December 31, 2016 during celebrations organised by the county government to usher in the New Year.
This was after the committee chaired by Mabatini MCA Wilfred Odalo raised concerns at the amount used saying that the money would have been used in more important projects.
BIGGER FIREWORKS EVENT
Nominated MCA June Ndegwa said Nairobi residents would need more development and effective service delivery than attraction of tourists through increased fireworks events this year.
But Mr Gichohi downplayed the MCA’s concerns saying that the county government was even planning a major and bigger fireworks event this year.
“There will more fireworks this year to light up the entire city as a way of improving on our domestic and foreign tourism. We will light up the city to put it on a higher pedestal compared to other cities of the world like Sydney, Melbourne and even New York,” said Mr Gichohi.
The committee will now summon all the officers who sat on the county tender committee that year.
They include Luke Gatimu, George Wambua, Ann Kiaruri, Winnie Matimu, Dr Samuel Ochola, Dr Solomon Obielo, Patrick Mwangangi, John Obuk and Nyaduda Ambeka.