By Tony Wafula
The Ethics Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) have been asked to start forensic investigations on the leadership of Bungoma County Assembly over the loss of taxpayers money.
Bungoma based human rights activists want EACC and DCI to narrow there investigations on the controversial purchase of ‘an old staff bus’ and a pick up at a cost of 11.35 million with following the due process.
Joab Bwonya, the Executive Director of the Western Kenya Human Rights Watch (WKHRW) also wants the investigative sleuths to probe the assembly’s committee of Agriculture on how they spend half a million shillings at a non-existent report writing retreat in Kisumu.
“We want EACC and DCI to move with speed and investigate the Assembly leadership over the loss of the tax payer’s money. Ward Reps have failed in their oversight role by refusing to recommend prosecution of the affected officers,” said Mr Bwonya.
According to documents that the County Splash is in possession of, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives committee held a meeting at the assembly premises on December 7, 2017 but the committee members took Sh500, 000 in allowances purporting to have held the meeting at a Kisumu hotel.
“EACC and DCI should do forensic investigations to unveil the variance since the invoice from a Kisumu Hotel dated December 17, 2017 varies from the IFMIS payment made on December 14, 2017,” said Bwonya.
He said officers carrying out the investigations should also demand the releases of the evaluation report to the public about the controversial purchase of a sub-standard 33- seat bus and a double cabin pick up without following the procurement process.
The Public Administration Committee investigating the matter was chaired by Kabuyefwe ward MCA, John Lutukai.
Different witnesses who appeared before the committee investigating the matter gave contradicting information casting doubt on whether due process was followed in procuring the two vehicles.
The Assembly had allocated a total of Sh 6 million for the purchase of a 33-seater bus but instead, a 28 seater second-hand bus was purchased at Sh 4.5 million. The bus did not have an insurance cover and yet a brand new vehicle has to be supplied with an insurance cover from the dealer.
While appearing before the committee, Principal Legal Officer, Ignatius Wangila differed with the clerk to the County Assembly John Mosongo who accused him of lying under oath after he disowned a professional report compiled by his evaluation team.
Minutes of an independent professional opinion on the evaluated report for the supply of the two motor vehicles chaired by Wangila, dated March 12, 2019, reveals that the lowest bidder for the supply of the 33-seater bus was unfairly disqualified to proceed to the final stage on an unmerited technicality.
The lowest bidder for the supply and delivery of a double cabin pick up had quoted a sum of Sh5.109 million was knocked out even after quoting the Toyota model required by the procurement entity.
“It cannot be explained by those involved in the shoddy deal why the highest bidder of 5.87 million was awarded the tender instead of giving it to the lowest bidder to ensure that there is value for our money,” said Bwonya.
The County assembly clerk John Mosongo while appearing before the committee admitted to having received the bus from the supplier without following the due process.
“He would have formed an inspection and acceptance committee as required by the procurement laws,” said Bwonya.
An accountant, Julia Naliaka was at pains to explain to the committee why she made payments for the bus contrary to procurement laws that demanded an inspection of the bus before delivery.
According to documents in our custody, there were no marks awarded to the lowest bidder in the column of evaluators while marks awarded to the highest bidder have been either corrected or deleted on the evaluation form to favor the bidder.
Bwonya demanded the release of the report adding that the award was contrary to a professional opinion made by the legal officer who had recommended for the cancellation of the whole process.
“The county assembly which is mandated to do representation and oversight has compromised its constitutional role die to conflict of interest as they own through proxies companies trading with the county government,”