PS to refund Sh90 million in procurement blunder

PS to refund Sh90 million in procurement blunder
PS to refund Sh90 million in procurement blunder

Africa-Press – Kenya. A senior state officer faces the risk of shouldering the burden of refunding Sh90 million expenditure incurred through procurement of goods and services from unqualified firms.

Francis Owino, the Principal Secretary for State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy, is accused of entering into the procurement contract without lawful tender documents contrary to the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act.

A parliamentary report from the Auditor General for the 2018/19 financial year on receipts and payments, indicates that Sh641 million payment was made for goods and services.

Out of this, Sh4.5 million was meant for routine maintenance services of other assets and Sh85.4 million for specialized materials and services.

The report states that an examination of payment records at the Mombasa office revealed that a firm was paid Sh276 million for maintenance services that involved fixing of floor tiles and repair of submersible pump.

The report says the firm presented a tax compliance certificate which upon verification from the Kenya Revenue Authority, proved to be expired implying it was forged.

A further probe showed that another firm was issued a local purchase order in the period under review to supply fishing gears at the office worth Sh1.1 million.

Upon scrutiny, it emerged that the firm’s compliance certificate was also expired.

“The procurement of floor tiles and repairs of submersible pump and fishing gears at the Mombasa office contravened Section 55 (I) (f) of the public procurement and asset disposal Act,2015,” the committee observed.

The Public Accounts Committee chaired by Opiyo Wandayi now wants the officer to provide an explanation over the mess or pay back the funds.

“Where the accounting officer fails to provide an explanation within three months of adoption of the report he should be surcharged the amount pursuant to Section 202 of the PFM Act,” the committee recommended.

Owino confirmed that the two companies provided invalid tax compliance certificates and that due diligence was not followed to establish the authenticity of the documents.

“These being quotations from pre-qualified firm at the Mvita subcounty, due diligence on the validity of the documents being different from the one in KRA website was not conducted leading to the anomaly,” Owino said.

Section 58 of the PFM Act states that an accounting officer shall be accountable to the National Assembly in ensuring public resources are used in a lawful and authorized manner.

The officer is also mandated to ensure that all contracts entered into by the entity are lawful and are complied with.

Last year, the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC), in its annual quarterly report, cited the PS over illegal procurement of Sh1 billion ultra-modern fish hub in Liwatoni fisheries complex in Mombasa.

The body said it had forwarded the file to DPP for action accusing him of commencing the tendering process of second phase of the project without approved budget and procurement plan.

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