Two Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission commissioners who resigned and made a comeback last week owe the institution close to Sh2 million in unsupported expenditures they incurred, an internal audit showed.
Former vice-chairperson Ms Consolata Maina, the audit found, was paid Sh1.9 million as relocation allowance from Australia where she was previously based before her appointment as a commissioner.
The audit, however, notes that the payment was not supported by requisite documents including air ticket and relevant receipts showing payments made to the logistics company responsible from transportation and clearing of her baggage.
“Instead, an unidentifiable document dated July 12, 2017 obtained from Qubeba Cargo Ltd indicating cost estimates was used to support the payment,” the audit noted.
Payment of the relocation allowance for Dr Roselyn Akombe, who also resigned, was stopped on October 18, 2017 immediately she resigned.
The audit notes that without proof of actual expenditure, “the audit is unable to establish whether the services paid for by the commission were eventually delivered” and calls upon the accounting officer and director of finance to explain the basis of making an express payment without proper supporting documents.
The audit report has also recommended that Sh50,000 be recovered from commissioner Margaret Mwachanya’s terminal benefits for failing to account for the cash that was advanced to her when she travelled to Dubai from April 4 to 6 to attend a ‘Top Executive Seminar’. Mwachanya made a comeback last week to the IEBC with Ms Maina.
She had received Sh50,000 from the commission for ground movement during her stay in Dubai but she had not accounted for the cash.
The audit report further exposed cases of disregard of plenary decisions, falsification and or delay in signing of minutes.
According to the report, the secretariat failed to implement 17 plenary resolutions including a proposal to lease technology-based voter identification system through a government-to-government arrangement.
The audit notes that the IEBC secretariat failed to implement and table a plenary resolution that investigations be conducted in the delay of the procurement of ballot papers, poll registers and results forms “and whoever is found to be culpable will face disciplinary action".
Other outstanding plenary resolutions the audit faults the secretariat for having failed to implement was the agreement to have the results transmission server hosted locally.
A follow up to the resolution on hosting the server locally was to engage NTT only as a backup. Instead, NTT became the primary host site, according to the report.
NTT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) headquartered in Tokyo, Japan but with subsidiaries and offices in over 110 cities in 40 countries/regions.
The audit also found that handwritten plenary minutes were missing for 11 meetings. “The handwritten plenary minutes were necessary for comparison purposes, that is handwritten minutes and final/signed plenary minutes to ascertain accuracy that they are a true record of deliberations at Plenary.”
There were also missing draft soft copy minutes as sent to the CEO Ezra Chiloba.
“The 172nd, 174th and 179th soft copies of the draft plenary meetings were not available for review,” the audit noted.
DELAY IN SIGNING
Similarly, the auditors could not trace the whereabouts of four signed plenary minutes for the 196th, 205th, 210th and 221st meetings. “The accounting officer (Mr Chiloba) should provide copies of the plenary minutes,” the auditors recommended. Also, they recommended that IEBC adopts the use of Hansard system “to allow for generation and custody of verbatim reports emanating from plenary or any other critical meeting deliberations".
Regarding delays in signing plenary minutes, the audit found that the period ranged from a month to four with the 173rd plenary minutes having been signed after 22 follow up meetings.
“The commission CEO as the secretary of the plenary board should explain the reasons for delay in signing of the minutes at an appropriate time,” the audit recommended.
Meanwhile, in at least two plenary minutes, there were inconsistencies noted between the signed one and the soft copy draft minutes. In the 171st for instance, the signed minutes had a resolution directing the secretariat to review specifications for statutory election forms. With regard to the 200th plenary minutes, the signed copy omitted the requirement that “all forms 34As, 34Bs and 34Cs be uploaded in the public portal” as was contained in the soft copy draft minutes by the person taking the minutes.
Mr Chiloba dismissed the allegations when he spoke to the Sunday Nation on Saturday.
“On the issue of minutes, this is a farfetched allegation and I have no further comment since I have not seen the report. However, we have been aggrieved by the selective conduct of commissioners on their own decisions,” he said.