The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) used close to Sh700 million on food alone in its county offices during the 2017 General Election, according to a report by the Auditor-General.
The amount is part of the Sh800 million whose expenditure the commission chaired by Mr Wafula Chebukati cannot explain according to an audit report for the 2017/18 financial year.
Auditor-General Edward Ouko has also questioned irregular expenditure on media services incurred by the commission during the October 26, 2017 repeat presidential election as well as unsupported expenditure on event organising services and over-payment for national tallying centre in the August 2017 elections.
The audit report tabled in the National Assembly by leader of majority Aden Duale shows that the commission irregularly paid a whooping Sh691,526,310 for the catering services.
The expenditure, which is part of the Sh2.2 billion budgeted on hospitality, supplies and services, had contracts awarded to service providers based on predetermined rates issued from the commission’s headquarters at the Anniversary Towers in Nairobi.
However, Mr Ouko notes that the awarding of the contracts was done in total disregard to Article 227 (1) of the Constitution, which requires fairness, equity, transparency, cost- effectiveness and competition in the process of procurement of public goods and services.
“In the circumstances, the validity of the expenditure of Sh691,526,310 incurred on catering services by the county offices could not be ascertained,” Mr Ouko says in the report.
“In the absence of a competitive procurement process for the catering services, it could not be confirmed whether there was value money on the expenditure,” he says.
The auditor’s report will be considered by the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi.
The commission is also on the spot over the Sh36.2 million unsupported expenditure on event organizing services by Wanderjoy Party World limited.
Mr Ouko says that the commission claimed to have used a contract between the State Department of Interior headed by Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i and Wanderjoy Party World limited to procure the firm.
The auditor said the commission did not, however, provide documentary evidence to prove that the State Department of Interior had carried out the required procurement procedures before engaging the firm.
“The validity and propriety of the expenditure included in the general expenses could not be ascertained,” the report says.
In a clear and blatant misuse of the limited public funds, the commission further overspent for the national tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya- a state corporation, even as it complained of reduced allocations by MPs to finance its operations during the year under review.
In the run up to the elections, the commission identified Bomas of Kenya as a suitable venue for the services and after negotiations, a contract between the two entities was signed on July 21, 2017.
But examination of records revealed that IEBC paid Bomas of Kenya Sh70,495,162 through voucher number 1196A on April 10, 2018.
Included in the payment were charges for security systems, accommodation for commissioners and hire of the projectors, which were higher than the negotiated contract rates.
“This resulted in the over-payment of Sh27,482,162 which has not been recovered to date. The validity and propriety of the expenditure could not be confirmed,” Mr Ouko says.
Also in the cross hairs of the commission is the Sh23,040,000 irregularly paid media advertising services during the October 26, 2017 fresh presidential election.
The amount was paid to five media houses and Radio stations for airing documentaries during the election.
However, documentary evidence provided to the auditors, revealed that the negotiated cost would have been Sh11,200, 000.
Mr Ouko says that no satisfactory explanation was provided for the extra payment of Sh11,840,000, meaning that the validity of the expenditure is doubtful.
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