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MPs probe dud jets and meat supply tender at KDF barracks

Defence Principal Secretary Torome Saitoti and military officials are today expected before a parliamentary committee on the questionable procurement of Sh1.5 billion dud military aircrafts.

This comes after the department was put on the spot over the multi-million controversial supply of fresh meat to Nanyuki Air Base and foodstuffs in other installations in a petition filed in the National Assembly.

SPARE PARTS

Mr Saitoti and the military personnel will appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly to explain whether the government got value for the billions spent of the seven jets that have not been operational from April 2007 when they were procured.

According to Auditor-General Edward Ouko, the jets were bought from Royal Jordanian Air Force through a government to government deal.

Mr Ouko in his audit report of 2015/16, however, says the aircraft have not been in use as they were found to be defective and are now being used as sources of spare parts.

On Sunday, PAC chairman Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) said the questionable expenditure exemplifies the rot in the use of the limited public services for the “things that don’t add value.”

“The committee expects the accounting officer, who is the PS, to explain whether the aircrafts were acquired to be used as spare parts as opposed to buying the spares directly,” Mr Wandayi said.

According to Mr Ouko, the aircrafts were delivered, assembled and tested but an inspection undertaken by the ministry’s technocrats revealed that they were defective and therefore could not be flown.

EXCAVATORS

The report says that when auditors went to Laikipia Air Base in June 2016, they found that the defects were yet to be rectified, and seven jets had not been operational from the time they were brought in Kenya and assembled.

“Audit of fuel and servicing records indicated that the aircrafts are being used as sources of spare parts for other similar machines. No justification has been given for the purchase then use them as sources for spare parts,” Mr Ouko said.

According to Mr Wandayi, the officers who detected the flaws may have not been part of the entourage that flew to Jordan to inspect them prior to their procurement.

The PS is also expected to explain why the military bought two excavators at more than four times their market price in the 2011/12 financial year.

The two excavators went for Sh185.3 million instead of Sh40 million.

Other issues to be explained include why the military went for direct procurement of supplementary services for a fleet of jets in 2009 for $2.9 million and the decision to buy spare parts at $12.9 million through restricted tendering from a company rather than buy them directly from the aircraft manufacturer.

MEAT

This came after Mr Ouko raised fears that no value for money was obtained in the procurement even as he questioned its legality and effectiveness in line with the Public Finance Management Act.

Other than the audit queries, the committee will also interrogate the PS on the misuse of restricted tendering for the supply of fresh meat to Nanyuki air base after Mr Fazal Butt, the director of Jack Right (1982) Limited, claimed that he was locked out of the tender despite quoting the lowest price.

He says that Quality Meat Packers was awarded the tender to supply the meat for two years at a cost of Sh328 per kilo compared to the Sh290 he had quoted.

He claims that his firm has been supplying meat to the military camps in Nanyuki and Isiolo for the last 30 years.

Interestingly, when he successfully appealed the matter to the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board, the department of defence went for restrictive tendering process to lock him out.

The PFM Act provides for special conditions for restrictive and direct procurement and foodstuff is not among them.

Daily Nation

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