The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) cannot account for up to Sh9.2 billion for various contracts it awarded for the supply of goods and services used during last year’s August 8 General Election and the October 26 repeat presidential poll.
The commission used direct procurement to secure goods and services totalling Sh9.2 billion between January 7, 2016, and October 17, 2017, but Auditor-General Edward Ouko returned an adverse opinion on the use of the funds and concludes in his report that the commission did not apply the funds lawfully and in an effective way.
A draft audit report of the commission for the 2016/17 financial year, which the Nation has seen, reveals that IEBC awarded the contract for the supply of 45,000 Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (Kiems) kits to Safran Identity Solutions (Safran Morpho) on March 31, 2017 at a contract sum of Sh4.2 billion.
The contract involved the supply, installation, configuration, testing and commissioning of the kits, software licenses and loyalties, training and technical support.
However, while the evaluation committee had recommended for the purchase of the kits at a cost of Sh3.8 billion, the contract was awarded at a cost of Sh4.2 billion, an excess payment of Sh396 million, which is contrary to Section 47 (1) of the Public Finance Management Regulations, 2015.
Further, the audit reveals that the Kiems kits, power banks, protective cases, and SD cards were procured for the General Election and the repeat presidential election but IEBC did not justify the rationale of incurring an additional cost of Sh856 million for the repeat poll.
The audit further shows 149,640.5 GB data bundle valued at Sh127 million were procured from Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom, but an analysis of actual SIM card’s data usage revealed that 605.3 GB valued at Sh515,269 were used resulting in unutilized, expired and wasted 149.035 GB data bundle.
Similarly, IEBC mismanaged 1,000 Thuraya Modems and Sim cards loaded with data. The first batch of 700 and 300 Thuraya satellite data modems and Sim cards with unlimited bundles were delivered and distributed to the constituencies before the General Election. However, only 339 modems and cards with data of only 4 GB were used.
“In this circumstances, indications are that the commission did not evaluate actual data required which would have been the basis for determination of actual cost,” the report states, noting that IEBC did not clarify why it was not necessary to negotiate for post payment arrangement that would have guaranteed payment for actual data used.
Another service that was procured through direct procurement was the BVR IBM server infrastructure maintenance and Kiems infrastructure security monitoring solution. The contract was awarded to IBM management at Sh452 million for a contract period ending June 2018.
The ICT department had recommended that the service be procured at Sh75 million.
In any case, a physical verification undertaken by the auditors on June 19, 2018, reveals that no installations have been done at both primary and secondary data centres and some of the deliverables have not been undertaken by the contractor.
Among the deliverables not undertaken include vulnerability and event management, cyber security operations centre and SOC automation, web application firewalls, anti-distributed denial of service solution, next generation firewalls, email security and licenses, network discovery and compliance solution, training on deployed security solutions and one year hardware warranty and technical support.
The commission was to build a new converged server for primary data centre and disaster recovery site to support its electoral technology requirements and other Commission IT operations. The data centres were to provide seamless access and high availability service to comply with the provision of the election laws.
The tender was evaluated and awarded to M/s Africa Neurotich Systems Ltd at a cost of Sh249 million.
However, while the company was paid the entire contract amount for the delivery of hardware, “a verification by the auditors shows that data centres were never utilized for the intend purposes. In this circumstances, the commission paid the vendor before testing and commissioning the equipment,” the auditor observes in the report.