Ex-IEBC boss denies claim that he disbanded tender committee

Former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)hief executive James Oswago has refuted claims that he single-handedly disbanded the poll agency’s tendering committee, resulting in inflated cost of procurement for the biometric voter registration kits used in the 2013 general election.

The electronic voter registration kits were bought in a government-to-government deal after IEBC ran out of time to procure the gadgets in a competitive tender.

In his presentation to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee day, Mr Oswago said the decision to terminate the procurement by the tendering committee was reached at a plenary meeting attended by the commission chairman.

“I have minutes of the meeting to that effect, which can show that the auditor -general’s report is inaccurate in many aspects and unfair to me in both direct and indirect conclusions,” he told a Parliamentary Committee on Monday.

Auditor-General Edward Ouko has, in a report, found Mr Oswago culpable of manipulation of the tendering processes of the BVR Electronic Voter Identification Devices (Evids) that largely failed during voting in the 2013 polls.

South African firm Face Technologies was awarded the tender to supply the BVR kits despite having quoted Sh825 million above the IEBC budget. The Commission had a budget of S.9 billion.

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Mr Oswago shared with parliamentary committee members a chronological order on how the tendering process took place, highlighting his involvement at every stage.

“I wrote to the Director of Public Procurement and Oversight Authority (PPOA) asking for his view on the legality of awarding tender to a bidder that had quoted above our budget,” he said.

It is this letter to the PPOA that did not go down well with the tendering committee members who thought it showed Mr Oswago’s lack of confidence in its work.

“Members of the tendering committee claimed they were stepping aside to allow the CEO a free hand in selecting another tendering committee,” he said.

A new tendering committee was appointed, but later disbanded after failing to settle on a bidder for supply of the BVR kits.