IEBC on spot over Sh350 million over communication strategy project
The electoral commission is again on the spot for issuing tenders worth millions of shillings to a communication firm for one year for a job that could have been done in four months.
Members of parliament demanded to know how Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) signed a Sh350million contract with Scanad Kenya Limited to provide strategic communication and integrated media campaign consultant from July last year to June this yet the firm completed its work in November last year.
MPs who sit in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi took the Public Relations firm to task to explain the functions they have been carrying out since they presented their final report to the commission on November 30 last year.
The lawmakers who met with the firm led by the Chief Executive Sandeep Maadan said it is clear that the said tenders were awarded irregularly as evidence presented to them reveals that the firm only worked for four months from July 28 to November 30 when they compiled their final report.
The move by the MPs came after IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati who had previously appeared before the committee claimed that his efforts to have the tender given for a period of four months was rejected by former Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba after he insisted that the contract should be for one year.
“There was no work done after four months because you presented your final report on November 30. It is evident that this contract was unnecessarily escalated,” said Wandayi.
In particular, Wandayi sought to know whether it is true that the firm was given an opportunity to lower its initial cost from Sh750million to Sh350million so that they could get the tender at the expense of other firms.
In addition, Wandayi also claimed that the firm was made aware of the scores it got at the evaluation stage way before the contract was issued.
“You know the laws governing competition in this country and you know the consequences of undermining competition. In your own view do you think you acted ethically?” posed Wandayi.
Minority whip Junet Mohammed (Suna East) asked the firm to prove to the committee that they worked after the election had been held and whether there was value for money.
He also sought to know whether the firm had an opportunity to correct any mis-anomaly from the electoral agency before any publication was done or they just approved any material given to them by the commission.
“The time you worked for them is just four months, how can you prove that you did any job after October,” asked Junet.
Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang sought to know how the firm agreed to lower the cost from Sh750million to Sh350million and whether this was a direct procurement.
However, Maadan explained that they lowered the cost to Sh350million after they were informed by the negotiation committee that the available budget for the entire exercise was Sh350million.
Accompanied by his officers, Maadan said that they are not privy to any plenary directive to reduce the term of the contract from 12 months to four months.
According to Maadan their scope involved reviewing, development and implementation of PR communications strategy.
“The company adjusted the cost based on the same scope but remainder activities, available time, phases and production material required for the task and re-submitted its revised financial proposals,” said Maadan.