Chiloba approved fictitious payments, Oswago tells MPs

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

Suspended Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chief executive Ezra Chiloba is yet again on the spot for authorising fictitious payments for the procurement of additional Electronic Voter Identification (EVID) kits.

Former IEBC CEO James Oswago yesterday told a parliamentary committee that Chiloba authorised the “dubious and strange” payment for, among other things, additional 600 kits that the commission had not ordered.

Appearing before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Oswago defended his tenure at IEBC, saying he declined to approve payment to South African firm Face Technology.

The commission, he said, unanimously agreed to procure 4,000 kits in addition to the 30,000. The company delivered 34,600 kits instead of 34,000. The 600 kits which were not to be paid for since the Face Technology was not offering warranty, but the firm sent invoice demanding for payment.

“I declined to pay the invoice dated February, 6, 2013 amounting to Sh462 million because it included items which were fictitious,” he told the committee chaired by Opiyo Wandayi.

Some of the fictitious payments Oswago cited include payment for logistics, transport and labour costs, material component increase, hand-held bags, duty on handheld bags and power extension cables.

He claimed that despite him and acting CEO Betty Nyabuto, who took over him, declining to pay the additional costs, Chiloba went ahead and paid the Sh462 million without following due process.

“Chiloba joined the commission and within three months, he had paid,” said Oswago. The procurement of electoral kits is at the heart of a controversy that has seen Chiloba sent on compulsory leave and three IEBC commissioners resigning.

Former IEBC chair Issack Hassan also appeared before the MPs and defended his tenure. He said while at the commission, three CEO’s who worked under him, but he never interfered with their mandate.

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