Saturday, July 13, 2024

Four Bungoma officials found guilty in wheelbarrows purchase, Lusaka cleared

Four Bungoma officials found guilty in wheelbarrows purchase, Lusaka cleared
Four Bungoma officials found guilty in wheelbarrows purchase, Lusaka clearedA committee has found four Bungoma county officials culpable in the purchase of 10 wheelbarrows at Sh1.09 million and 32 meat hooks at Sh32, 500 each.

The officials are Trade executive Patrick Kooi, transitional authority coordinator Juma Matsanza, veterinary director Emanuel Wangwe former head of supply chain management Ayub China.

Audit committee chairman and Bungoma Township MCA Joseph Maguda, who tabled its report on Wednesday, said Governor Kenneth Lusaka was not involved, but raised the alarm and called for an audit.

They asked Lusaka to punish the three officials, saying they tainted his image and that of the county both locally and internationally.

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Members of the Assembly made a few amendments to the committee’s report, that said Sh5,137,810 was swindled, before approving it before Speaker John Makali.

Maguda said the committee found that Kooi, who was then the Agriculture executive, signed requisition ref; stock 7/10/2 that Wangwe had forwarded to him.

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“The committee found out that he gave misleading information while on oath and recommends that the appointing authority [formally reprimand him],” he said.

The chairman said Wangwe was instrumental to the procurement process, but gave exaggerated possible prices of wheelbarrows and hooks.

“The committee was also suspicious as to why Wangwe cut his journey to Nairobi short while in Nakuru on hearing that the acceptance and inspection committee was receiving the wheelbarrows, and that his office was being represented by two officers,” he said.

He said the team further questioned why Wangwe accepted the wheelbarrows, despite noting poor workmanship in their grafting.

The committee said Wangwe should be held liable for the recovery of all quantified losses, be issued with a summary dismissal notice and surcharged for violating the Public Procurement and Disposal Act.

The chariman said Matsanza “failed to show due diligence as an accounting officer” in ensuring the proper utilisation of resources and value for money.

Matsanza was supposed to scrutinise tender opening, evaluation and awarding, and inspection and acceptance minutes, before processing payments, he said.

He added that the official was also to verify and authenticate payment vouchers and LPOs before approving any payment transactions.

‘’The committee found it was illogical for the tender evaluation committee to recommend that 36 hooks be purchased at Sh32,500 each, but sign a Sh1,170,000 voucher for them,” he said.

China did not consider the tender committee’s recommendation for fresh quotations, considering that proposed wheelbarrow and slaugher house equipment costs were higher than market prices.

“It is noted in regulation to 8(3)(z) of 2006 Public Procurement and Disposal Act that it is the responsibility of a procuring unit to do a periodic market survey to inform placing of orders or adjudication by the relevant award committee,” he said.

Maguda cited possible collusion between Wangwe and China, and suppliers, saying China termed the prices fair.

‘’The committee established that the county Public Investment and Accounts Committee found out that the tender committee failed to ensure the procuring entity did not pay in excess of prevailing market prices, while the acceptance committee went ahead to receive equipment that were poorly grafted,” he said.

Saying this amounted to breach of duty, he advised the exclusion of members of the tender and inspection and acceptance teams when constituting procurement committees.

He said the members of the two committees should also be held personally responsible, surchaged and issued summary dismissal notices.

Maguda said the suppliers, Jagla and Chemiatry enterprises, colluded with the procurement team to inflate prices. He said its directors will be named in two weeks and added that it should be blacklisted.

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