Two principal secretaries (PS) are under probe over the award of Sh4.8 billion classified tenders for the supply of sophisticated weapons to the Kenya Prisons.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) thwarted payment of Sh3.6 billion (80 percent) which was to be paid before the delivery of the security items yet there was no tender performance security or bank guarantee, exposing the government to high risk loss.
The EACC has already questioned Post-Training and Skills Development Principal Secretary Alfred Cheruiyot and former Sports Principal Secretary Richard Ekai over the scandal the commission says violated the Public Procurement and Disposal Act.
Documents obtained by the Daily Nation show that some companies, some owned by local politicians, were awarded the tenders despite having no valid PIN and Tax Compliance certificates. Some of them had forged Local Purchase Orders.
There was no authority from the National Security Advisory Committee or the National Security Council authorising the procurement of the security items and some companies were awarded tenders despite having no known address or location.
Investigations by the EACC also show that there was no budget for the procured items, and that the process was commenced without involving the Commissioner General of Prisons despite him being the one who requested the then Interior Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo for the supplies prequalification in June 2014.
EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak on Thursday confirmed that the commission had received information about the intent to siphon Sh4.8 billion through the Department of Correctional Services.
“We are investigating the matter and we are on the final stages. Soon we will forward recommendations to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for action,” Mr Mbarak said.
Although Mr Mbarak did not give more information, documents in our possession show that at least nine senior government officials and politicians were listed by EACC as persons of interest.
So far 19 people had been interrogated concerning the scheme that would have resulted in the loss of Sh3.8 billion in two weeks and eventually Sh4.8 billion.
The tenders included the supply of bullet proof vests and plastic helmets amounting to Sh2.2 billion. The tender was awarded to Firetruss Systems.
Pakistan Ordinance was awarded a tender worth Sh595.7 million to supply standard G3 firearms and another Sh478.5 million tender for the supply of submachine guns.
Another company, Mildat ZO. O, was hired to supply rifles and fullbore target rifles amounting to Sh343 million.
And even though traditionally all guns are bought with slings already attached to them, there was a tender to supply slings worth Sh200 million.
This tender was awarded to Milways Enterprises associated with a politician we are yet to identify.
Other persons of interest in the investigations are Mageto Mirieri who was then-head of Supply Chain Management, Ms Leah Omollo who was the Administrative Secretary for Correctional Services, Mr James Mwalo Kodieny, Mr Joseph Kamau Mwangi, Ms Rose Nekesa Muturi - who is the Deputy Commissioner General, Ms Sarah Kemunto Kerandi and Benjamin Njoga who was in charge of enterprise services at the State Department for Correctional Services.
Commissioner General of Prisons Isaiah Osugo told EACC that he was not aware of the plans to procure the equipment, but admitted that he had placed a request for prequalification in January 2014.
On June 26 the same year, one PN Mwangi, on behalf of Interior PS, wrote to the Commissioner General requesting for procurement plans for the restricted tendering of the security items, saying that the prequalification exercise was due.
The National Treasury principal secretary wrote to the Department for Correctional Services principal secretary inviting him to attend a meeting to agree on the category of items to be included in the list of procurement.
But by the time the meeting was being held the procurement process was already underway, without the involvement of Mr Osugo, the National Security Advisory Committee or National Security Council.