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IEBC boss risks jail over PAC invite snub

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Issack Hassan risks a jail term or hefty fine over failure to honour parliamentary committee summons.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday threatened to cite Hassan for contempt for failing to appear before it to shed light on its conduct during the 2013 General Election. Committee chairperson Nicholas Gumbo said all IEBC commissioners have failed to honour three invitations sent to them previously.

Hassan was expected to appear before the committee yesterday morning and his deputy Lilian Mahiri-Zaja in the afternoon to respond to queries raised in a special Auditor General report that accused IEBC of violating procurement laws in acquisition of election material for 2013 polls.

Speaking after adjourning the meeting, Gumbo said IEBC commissioners do “not take the work of the committee seriously” as they are always giving excuses not to appear.

He said the committee will not allow the electoral body to take the National Assembly for granted in its mandate to oversight the use of public funds by institutions.

“We will issue fresh summons to Hassan and his commission this week asking them to appear before the committee. We cannot allow them to keep giving us excuses all the time and forcing us to work with their programme,” he said.

Gumbo questioned why Hassan always claims to be outside the country whenever the committee invites him to shed light on the matter. PAC is probing how the controversial Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits and Electronic Voter Identification Systems and the Result Transmission, and why the kits failed to function.

The audit report had raised questions about Hassan’s role in alleged inflation of BVR kits prices. “I am not happy with them (IEBC commissioners).

The secretariat is not speaking candidly, while the commissioners are always giving excuses. It is as if they are in panic. Whatever it is they are hiding, we will know,” The BVR kits cost the government Sh7.2 billion, nearly double its initial budget of Sh3.9 billion.

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