The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has launched investigations into allegations of financial impropriety running into millions of shillings at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).
EACC chairman Eliud Wabukala confirmed the investigations without divulging details. The commission has strangely dragged its feet on the matter despite documents in our possession showing that it was officially invited to delve into the allegations on March 25 through a petition.
Similar complaints have also been filed with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The investigation comes just days after senior managers at KICC were arrested by DCI officers and taken in for questioning.
The issues that have put the country’s iconic facility in the spotlight include the award of tenders, payment of questionable allowances, audit queries and general maladministration.
For instance, KICC hosted two American R&B singers, SWV and Black Street Boys, in 2017 in conjunction with organisers Nimu Premier Events Ltd, to showcase KICC as an events location in Kenya and the region.
The minutes of the KICC board of August 4, 2016 shows that KICC management led by chief executive officer Nana Gecaga convinced the board to sanction the expenditure of Sh15 million for the concert but ended up paying Sh10 million above the allocated budget.
The board, then chaired by former South Mugirango MP Omingo Magara, sanctioned the event after being convinced that it was going to generate Sh45 million, according to the documents.
However, a report by Auditor General Edward Ouko of March 22, 2019, tabled in the National Assembly, shows that there was no corresponding revenue generated from the concert despite taxpayers’ money having been spent.
“There was no evidence that KICC received income from the event. The contract had provided that the profit from the event would be shared, with KICC getting 40 per cent,” Mr Ouko says in a report that is currently before the House Committee on Public Investments (PIC).
He also noted that the contract stipulated that KICC was entitled to 30 per cent of the catering services sourced by the organiser but there was no evidence that this was actually received.
Though the management said that it is in discussions with the event organiser to ensure that the contract clauses are honoured, nothing positive has been reported to date.
Mr Ouko also questioned the process that was used to identify and procure the services of the event organiser, saying documentation was not presented for audit verification.
According to Mr Ouko, Nimu Premier Events Ltd was to source for various services -- air tickets, agency fees, tents, catering services and artistes’ fees. However, all these services were paid for by the corporation to the tune of Sh25 million.
The expenditure included business-class tickets for the artists. It is not clear where the amount generated through gate collections went to.
The contract signed by Ms Gecaga on behalf of KICC and Nimu managing director Ms Jane Mawenu showed that tickets for VVIPs were to be sold at Sh25,000, VIP Sh15,000, general entry Sh5,000 and early bird couples at Sh3,000.
Interestingly, previous concerts held at the KICC have never been paid for but hosted on gratis. It is also claimed that whenever the KICC senior managers travel outside the country and within, other than pocketing per diem, they receive entertainment allowances each to the tune of Sh1 million.
On return, further claims are made as refunds alleging that they overspent on entertainment “whereas the purpose of per diem is supposed to cater for all the expenses”.
The details of these payments are captured in the customer ledger entries submitted to the EACC and DCI.
It should also be noted that during the Fifa World Cup between May and June 2018, management allowed local entertainment providers -- Homeboys -- to set up a temporary stadium at KICC premises at no cost.
It also entered into a partnership agreement with Honda to provide a motor vehicle and five motorbikes for a raffle during the World Cup.
KICC paid Sh2 million for the vehicle and the motorbikes. However, it has emerged that the activity was not scheduled and budgeted for.