Former IEBC chairman Issack Hassan reacts while facing the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee on wasteful expenditure, following 2014/15 audit reports by Auditor General Edward Ouko, April 16, 2018. /JACK OWUOR
By NANCY AGUTU
Former IEBC Chairman Isaack Hassan wants the National Assembly to exclude him from queries arising from the Auditor General’s procurement report.
He and former CEO James Oswago clashed on Monday over procurement of 4,000 additional Electronic Voter Identification Devices for the 2013 general election.
They cost Sh259 million and were in addition to 30,000 devices that had been contracted from Face Technologies Limited at Sh1.3 billion.
Hassan’s lawyers want him excluded from the investigation as he “did not play any role whatsoever” in the commission’s procurement function.
“At the time our client was Chairman, the commission was comprised of our client and eight commissioners,” Ngeri, Omiti & Bush Advocates noted in a letter dated April 13 to the Assembly Clerk.
“The information in our client’s possession seems to suggest that it is our client and not any of the eight former commissioners that the committee seeks to summon.”
The lawyers further noted that the IEBC team was collectively responsible for actions taken so the blame should not be on one person.
“The fact that our client is singled out is unusual. Our client is lumped together with senior management officials as if he was part of management.”
The letter signed by lawyer Herman Omiti also stated that the agency’s procurement function was exclusively carried out by Oswago and the Secretariat.
“The commissioners were prohibited by laws form taking part in procurement. Our client is therefore, even with the best intentions, not the proper person to answer queries relating to procurement,” Omiti said.
He added that Hassan neither interacted with the auditor’s office not got involved in audit processes during his time in office so he cannot answer any questions raised by the report.
“Any queries form the committee should therefore be taken up with those currently in office.”
The former Chairman asked the clerk to guide the Public Accounts Committee accordingly.
Hassan separately told the committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi that he and the commissioners were not involved in the procurement process.
He said on Monday that the Secretariat, led by Oswago, made a proposal for more devices.
“We left it to the management to do what was necessary as per the law. We knew our limits. We gave the CEO the mandate to go ahead with the necessary variations. I used to tell Oswago to be very careful as an Accounting Officer. He never complained to me,” he said.
But Oswago told the PAC that the commission held a plenary meeting on January 2013 and approved procurement of the additional kits.
According to the invoice, the amount included Sh110.9 million for maintenance component increase, Sh46.9 million for logistics and Sh43.9 million for VAT and import duty on 4,600 devices that cost Sh168.9 million.
It also showed Sh5.8 million for 4,600 hand-held bags and Sh146.6 million for their import duty fee. An amount of Sh4.2 million was spent on 5,565 electronic power cables and Sh1.1 million on their import duty fee.
Source: The Star