Raila Odinga on the spot over voter listing kits deal

_MPs on Monday questioned former Cord leader Raila Odinga’s motive in lobbying for France to supply biometric voter registration kits worth billions of shillings for use in the last General Election

This was despite an earlier decision by the government to work with Canada.

Mr Odinga’s name came up on several occasions when Head Civil Service Joseph Kinyua appeared before the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee that is investigating how the acquisition of the BVR kits was conducted.

Mr Kinyua was questioned at Parliament.

The kits were part of the Sh6 billion electronic voter equipment purchased by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission from a Canadian company ahead of the last polls.

It was revealed that Mr Odinga, who was the Prime Minister at the time, attempted to lobby for France a few days after the government had picked Canada.

Mr Kinyua was the Treasury permanent secretary.

He told the committee about a meeting called by Mr Odinga to fast-track the acquisition of the kits. He said the meeting was, instead, used to introduce another deal prepared by the French.

“During the technical meeting called by the former PM, the France offer came up, but we were already at an advanced stage with the Canadian offer and we could not turn back,” said Mr Kinyua.

Members of the committee wondered why the former PM tried to suggest another deal by the French Government yet he knew that discussions with the Canadians were at an advanced stage.

The French offer fell flat but the lawmakers still sought to know why the PM was keen to divert attention to another country.

“The Office of the PM has come up not twice or thrice but many times. You mentioned that you were summoned to his office and was told to consider an offer from France. Do you think he was interfering with the process?” asked Kieni MP Kanini Kega.