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IEBC cannot account for Sh5.4b, dubious Sh2.1b paid to lawyers – Auditor

The Public Accounts Committee (PSC) of the National Assembly has summoned the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to explain why it paid lawyers Sh2.1 billion instead of Sh1 billion in the 2013 election petitions.

This comes as it emerged that IEBC could not account for Sh5.4 billion in the 2015/16 financial year, according to the latest report by Auditor-General Edward Ouko.

The watchdog committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi also wants IEBC to explain why it paid Sh93.3 million instead of Sh31.7 million as the cost for biometric voter registration (BVR) kits’ vendor support and maintenance.

Mr Ouko has also questioned why the electoral agency irregularly changed the specifications to the tune of Sh1.6 billion for the supply, delivery, installation, training, testing and commissioning of 30,000 electronic voter identification devices (EVIDs) in the 2013 General Elections.

FOUR-DAY GRILLING

The grilling of IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and CEO Ezra Chiloba is expected to last four days.

It arises from the audit queries of the 2015/16 Auditor-General’s report of.

In the audit report, Mr Ouko questioned why the commission paid 68 lawyers it hired for presidential and other election petitions an extra Sh1 billion when as at June 30, 2013, the outstanding pending bills in legal fees reflected Sh1.05 billion.

However, the report reveals that the 68 advocates were paid Sh2.2 billion as part of IEBC’s pending bills since June 30, 2013.

Interestingly, a further Sh17.8 million of taxpayer’s money was paid to five law firms that were not prequalified to represent the commission in the courts.

PRINTERS

Mr Ouko also questioned why the commission paid Sh220.4 million for supply of 290 printers instead of the 337 contracted by the commission, meaning that some were not delivered yet they were fully paid for.

Questions have also been raised on how IEBC paid Sh50.4 million to a firm it contracted to transport election materials in 2013 yet the company was registered in 2014.

The company was neither contracted to do the supplies and available information shows that it was registered as a business name and not as a limited company.

The commission is also on the spot over how it spent Sh1 billion in general expenses for poll materials in Kericho and Malindi that were delivered after the by-elections were done.

The number of vehicles purported to have been hired for ferrying of poll materials were less than what was actually paid for.