Kenya Power awarded tenders to some companies which did not bid, an audit manager told the anti-graft court yesterday.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) invaded Kenya Power offices to get the audit report prepared over the selection of companies unprocedurally pre-qualified to offer services which gave rise to the fraudulent payment of Sh159 million, the court heard Tuesday.
Cross-examined by defence lawyer Dunstan Omari, audit manager Charles Cheruiyot Kipng’eno said the DCI invaded his office and took away the report that was used to commence the criminal charges against former KP managing director Ken Tarus and eight senior engineers.
Mr Kipng’eno said the report was meant for internal purposes but the DCI went away with it.
“In your report did you recommend the prosecution of any of these persons in court today?" Mr Omar asked Mr Kipng’eno.
“No I did not recommend the prosecution of anybody. All I did was to recommend action to be taken against a tender committee member, Mr David Makenzi, who skipped the tender opening exercise,” Mr Kipng’eno said.
He testified that the tender committee comprised of three members; Mr Makenzi, Mr Bernard Githui Muturi (secretary) and Ms Everlyne Pauline Amondi (an engineer).
The three were appointed by Dr Tarus as well as other managers to open the tenders submitted by bidders. Out of the 1,354 applications only 525 were pre-qualified.
Testifying yesterday in the second day of the trial against Dr Tarus, Mr Harun Karisa, Mr Daniel Tare, Mr Noah Ogano Omondi, Mr Daniel Ochieng Muga, Mr John Mwaura Njehia, Mr James Muriuki, Mr Muturi and Ms Amondi, the internal auditor said, “pre-qualification is not a contract award.”
He however said some companies which were awarded tenders had not submitted bids.
Dr Tarus and the other eight are charged with conspiring to commit an economic crime by carelessly failing to comply with the procedures and guidelines relating to procurement which led to fraudulent payment of Sh159 million to companies that were unprocedurally pre-qualified for labour and transport services vide tender No KPI/9AA-2/58/PJT/16-17.
The former MD is separately charged with wilful failure to comply with the law relating to management of public funds as the accounting officer of KP by approving a list of entities (companies) irregularly pre-qualified to render labour and transport services. He denied the charges.
Mr Muturi and Ms Amondi have denied carelessly participating in a tender opening process without quorum in breach of the law.
Mr Tare, Mr Omondi, Mr Njehia, Mr Muriuki and Mr Muturi, as tender evaluation committee members, have been accused failing to comply with public procurement and asset disposal Act of 2015 for non-adherence to procedure and criteria set out in the tender document.
Mr Kipng’eno said in his report that no due diligence was followed.
He admitted that it was mandatory that all the tender documents were to be opened upon expiry of 30 days and that Mr Muturi and Ms Amondi had no alternative but to open them.
The accused have since denied the six charges against them and are out on bond.