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President Uhuru Kenyatta. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya’s richest State corporations and agencies are yet to comply with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to publish online, details of the multibillion shilling tenders they award.

Mr Kenyatta issued the directive in June and publication of the contract details on a designated public procurement website was expected to begin in July.

The portal https://tenders.go.ke/website so far has only 2,566 tenders listed arising from 423 contracts worth Sh23.23 billion. The contracts have been awarded to 2,320 registered suppliers.

Mr Kenyatta, while issuing the directive, had argued that publication of the tenders would allow the public to scrutinise the deals, including the quality and amounts of goods and services purchased as well as the cost and identity of the suppliers.

Full compliance with the directive also meant that taxpayers would have access to information on ownerships of the companies winning the contracts.

“The Executive Order is premised on constitutional principles of Chapter 12 on public financial management, and in particular Articles 201 and 227 that emphasise integrity, prudent use of financial resources, and fair, equitable, competitive and cost effective procurement … This will enhance the highest levels of public scrutiny at all units of public administration,” a statement from State House had said on June 13.

But by close of business yesterday, most of the agencies controlling multibillion shilling State contracts were yet to publish details of such tenders.

It remains to be seen what action the President’s office will take on non-compliant agencies and departments.

Top among the cash-rich agencies that have yet to publish details of their procurement contracts are the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), and the Kenya Medical Training College.

Chief of Staff and Head of Presidential Delivery Unit Nzioka Waita, however, insisted that a lot of “progress” had been made since the directive was issued.

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“We are working closely with the Ministry of ICT and the National Treasury to ensure that all procuring entities within the National Government have the necessary technical and human capacity to fully comply with the executive order. So far, we are happy with the progress,” Mr Waita said.

In mid-July, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua said in a memo that accounting officers in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were required to consolidate and publish the required information, including new aspects of ongoing contracts, on the 15th of every month.

Mr Kinyua said information on the portal should include the basis of awarding the tenders, parameters of assessment, names and details of the tender committee members as well as the value of each contract.

Kenya may be losing a third of its national budget — the equivalent of about Sh666 billion — to theft and wastage every year, the head of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) said in 2016.

Last year, while campaigning for re-election, Mr Kenyatta promised to save Sh1 trillion in five years through a reduction of wastage in public service, and speedy resolution of corruption.

That promise appeared to have entered the execution stage in the past two months with renewed war on corruption that has seen dozens of senior public officers and business people arrested and charged with theft of billions of shillings.

More recently, rogue State employees have been on the spot for manipulating the procurement law to inflate tender prices and line their pockets with huge sums of money in exchange for shady deals.

Documents relating to tender disputes before the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) have, for instance, shown that crooked government officials collude with a cabal of tenderers to funnel lucrative government contracts to a select group of connected individuals, leaving in their wake protracted legal battles.

Corrupt tender committees have been alleged to use restricted tendering, a procurement method that limits the request for tenders to a select number of suppliers, contractors or service providers, against the spirit of the relevant law that specifies circumstances for restricted bidding.

There is also mid-course cancellation of tenders to allow a fresh start in which the terms of contracts are changed to lock out strong rivals in favour preferred bidders.



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