IEBC officials to respond to claims of misconduct
Posted by African Press International on July 31, 2016
PETER LEFTIE -1 | Jumapili, Julai 31, 2016
Eight top electoral commission officials are expected to appear before the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms on Monday to answer to claims of misconduct against them.
The clerks of the National Assembly and the Senate have written to the eight, led by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan to appear before the joint committee chaired by Siaya Senator James Orengo and his Meru counterpart Kiraitu Murungi.
IEBC commissioners are Thomas Letangule and Mohamed Alawi, IEBC Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba, Deputy CEO Betty Sungura Nyabuto, director of Election Operations and Voter Registration Immaculate Kasait, Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs Praxedes Tororey and Warehouse Manager Bernard Nyachio.
The letter is signed by the clerk of the Senate Jeremiah Nyegenye and a National Assembly official Michael Sialai on behalf of its clerk Justin Bundi. It is dated July 29.
In the letter, Mr Hassan is told he has been accused of “compromising public interest by accepting gifts”, allegedly single sourcing legal services for Cord leader Raila Odinga’s petition challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election and engaging in irregular procurement of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits by the commission.
“That the chairman ignored expert advice from IFES and did not disclose it to fellow commissioners that the EVID (Electronic Voter Identification Devices) contract should be cancelled, thereby leading to the misuse and waste of public resources,” the summonses read.
“That the chairman engaged in irregular procurement of BVR kits by the commission from Sanfran Morpho Canada through Canadian Commercial Corporation by way of single sourcing at a cost of Sh6.2 billion,” reads another allegation.
He is further accused of failing to provide leadership and involving himself in the operations of the secretariat and having vested interests in the commission.
“That the chairman takes overall responsibility for deceiving the public with reference to acquisition of voting equipment (including lobbying members of the secretariat) on voter registration and vote tallying,” the letter states.
Mr Letangule and Mr Alawi, like Mr Hassan, are accused of engaging in the irregular procurement of BVR kits.
Mr Chiloba is on his part accused of incompetence as well as making irregular payments of Sh258 million to Face Technologies without a valid contract.
On Ms Nyabuto, the letter states: “that Ms Sungura chaired the Tender Committee which awarded a contract for transporting elections material to an unregistered company at an exorbitant price.”
Like Mr Hassan, Mr Letangule and Mr Alawi, Ms Nyabuto is also accused of playing a role in the award of the BVR contract to the Canadian firm.
Reads the charge against Ms Kassait: “that Ms Kassait played a role and was responsible for the delayed preparation of a faulty principal voters register used for the March 2013 General Election.”
She is also accused of engaging in the irregular procurement of the BVR kits. Mr Nyachio also faces the same accusation of engaging in the irregular procurement of the BVR kits.
Ms Tororey accused of playing a role and “was responsible for the payment of legal fees to firms procured irregularly and under unclear circumstances.”
The eight are directed to provide 30 copies of their submissions on the allegations.
“Take note that should you chose not to attend before the committee on the date and time specified in this invitation, the committee and thereafter Parliament shall proceed with this matter in accordance with the Constitution and the law without further reference to you,” the letter concludes.
Significantly, none of the four commissioners said to have written to President Kenyatta a secret letter opting for early retirement upon being paid terminal dues is a subject of the summonses.
The four, Abdullahi Sharawe, Yusuf Nzibo, Kule Galma Godana and Albert Bwire wrote to the President on June 20 indicating their willingness to resign on condition that they were paid their terminal benefits.
In the letter which was tabled before the committee by the Cord’ legal team last week, the commissioners said although the process of removing them was clear and would require a tribunal, it would be tedious and time consuming and would not give incoming commissioners enough time to prepare and supervise the 2017 election.
“We the commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission resolve that for the sake of our country, a sign of nationalistic gesture, for purposes of investment in Kenya for the present and future generations, in the interest of peace and harmony and in good faith wish to express our willingness to voluntarily retire from public service, in order to accord new commissioners adequate time to settle and prepare for elections.”
Out of the commissioners, only the commission vice chairperson Lilian Mahiri-Zaja and one commissioner Muthoni Wangai have not been specifically accused of wrongdoing.
Two weeks ago, Mr Nzibo broke down when he sought to clear his name over claims he was involved in the Chickengate scandal when he and the other commissioners appeared before the National Assembly Justice and Legal Committee.
“It has destroyed both my reputation and that of my family. I have had a very distinguished reputation,” he said.
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