Mbugua: President has no role in procurement

Mbugua: President has no role in procurement
DAVID MWERE

By DAVID MWERE
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State and public officers have been warned against invoking the name of the President to peddle influence within government circles, including flouting procurement laws.

State House Comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua Wednesday told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that invoking the name of the President by government officers to get out of trouble was improper and that those involved should face the law.

When faced with questions about procurement irregularities, senior government officers, among them Principal Secretaries and heads of state corporations, have on numerous occasions claimed before parliamentary committees that they have had to go the direct way of tendering on orders from the presidency.

In line with article 135 of the Constitution, the decisions of the President must be in writing, and signed.

“All the accounting officers in government have always been directed not to honour any call claiming to emanate from State House,” Mr Mbugua told the committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi.

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“We are all accountable as far as the usage of public resources is concerned. I am at State House but I don’t invoke the President’s name when faced with issues. I cannot come here and say I was directed to do this or that,” he said.

Mr Mbugua, the former Nakuru Governor, said this after Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro sought to know why the accounting officers in government were always ready to link the presidency whenever they tender for projects or supplies directly.

A case in point is the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Under-18 Youth Championship scandal where Sh1.7 billion may have been lost due to questionable procurement.

The tournament, held at Kasarani, Nairobi, between July 12-16, 2017, saw various individuals involved in the procurement of materials and supplies claim that they were directed by the presidency to go the direct way of procurement because there was no time for the open tendering method.

The Office of Auditor-General Edward unearthed the plunder in his July 10, 2018 audit report, which PAC is currently considering, saying the expenditure was wrought with procurement irregularities and irregular pending bills of about Sh138.2 million.

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