Ex-mil­i­tary chiefs in Jor­dan jets puz­zle

Business Daily (Kenya) - - FRONT PAGE - Ed­win Mu­tai emu­tai@ke.na­tion­media.com

For­mer Chief of the Kenya De­fence Forces (KDF) Gen­eral (Rtd) Jeremiah Kianga and for­mer De­fence per­ma­nent sec­re­tary Zachary Mwaura have been en­tan­gled in the pro­cure­ment of ghter jets worth Sh2.9 bil­lion from Jor­dan, which were later found to be de­fec­tive. The Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee (PAC) heard that the air­craft, bought more than ten years ago from Royal Jor­dan Air Force for $29 mil­lion (Sh2.9 bil­lion at cur­rent ex­change rates), are now be­ing used as spare parts for A 5 ghter jets. De­fence prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary Saitoti Torome and Vice Chief of KDF Robert Ki­bochi for the se­cond time man­aged to ex­clude the pub­lic from the hear­ing, ar­gu­ing that the mat­ter was classied and could not be dis­cussed in the open. PAC chair­man Opiyo Wan­dayi de­manded to know the De­fence PS and the Chief of KDF at the time the seven ghter jets were pro­cured.

“We want to know who was the ac­count­ing of­fi­cer in the min­istry and the Chief of Kenya De­fence Forces in­line with ar­ti­cle 226(5) of the constitution, which is clear on re­spon­si­bil­ity. we want to know this so that we can ap­por­tion blame if it is found that pub­lic money was ap­plied wrong fully. who were the PS and the CDF at the time this pro­cure­ment was un­der­taken?” Mr Wan­dayi asked. Here ada sec­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion­that stip­u­lates that if the holder of a pub­lic of­fice, in­clud­ing a po­lit­i­cal of­fice, di­rects or ap­proves the use of pub­lic funds con­trary to law or in­struc­tions, they are li­able for any loss aris­ing from that use and shall make good the loss, whether they re­main the holder of the of­fice or not. “The PS then was Mr Zachary Mwaura and the Chief of De­fence Forces was Gen­eral Jeremiah Kianga.heis long re­tired. mrmw aura and Gen­eral Kianga served dur­ing the years 2007 to 2009,” Mr Torome said. Asked whether Gen­eral (Rtd) Kianga was still in pub­lic ser­vice, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Ki­bochi said he had left pub­lic of­fice af­ter serv­ing as chair­man of Kenya Rail­ways. “He was the chair of kenya rail­ways Cor­po­ra­tion, but has since left,” Lt- Gen Ki­bochi said. Mr Torome told the com­mit­tee that the pur­chase of mil­i­tary hard­ware was a sen­si­tive mat­ter. “Like we ar­gued last time we han­dled this au­dit query, the min­istry views this as a sen­si­tive se­cu­rity mat­ter and we are re­quest­ing that the is­sue be han­dled un­der clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion cat­e­gory,” Mr Torome said dur­ing the scru­tiny of Min­istry of De­fence books of ac­counts for the year to June 2015. Au­di­tor-gen­eral edw ar douko, in his au­dit re­port dated March 16, 2017, had ques­tioned the pur­chase of de­fec­tive fighter jets that he said were be­ing used as spare parts. The KDF pro­cured the seven air­craft 10 years ago through gov­ern­ment-to-gov­ern­ment ne­go­ti­a­tions in 2007. The pur­chase price of the air­craft recorded in con­tract no.rjaf/ Kaf /2007 dated april 26,2007 was US$15,291,503. Mr Ouko said tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance and main­te­nance ser­vices recorded in agree­ment No JAC/ Comm02/184-gok­datedapril27, 2007 were pro­cured at $12,264,995. A di­rect pro­cure­ment of sup­ple­men­tary ser­vices for the fleet re- corded in con­tract mosd/jac/s up pl/01/2008w as­signed on jan­uary 30, 2009 for a sum of $2,883,561, Mr Ouko said. “An au­dit ver­i­fi­ca­tion of the air­craft was car­ried out in june 2016 at Laikipia Air Base and…au­dit of fuel and ser­vic­ing records in­di­cate that seven air­craft have not been in op­er­a­tion from the time they were pro­cured,” said Mr Ouko. Be­fore the me­dia was locked out of the Fri­day meet­ing, Mr Wan­dayi told the De­fence min­istry of­fi­cials to pro­vide de­tails of in­di­vid­u­als who sanc­tioned the pro­cure­ment of the de­fec­tive jets. He di­rected Mr Torome and Lt-gen Ki­bochi to pro­vide the names of per­sons who sat in the min­is­te­rial ten­der com­mit­tee (MTC), min­utes that ap­proved the pro­cure­ment of the jets through re­stricted ten­der­ing and the tech­ni­cal ac­cep­tance doc­u­ments. Mr Wan­dayi also asked them to pro­vide a list of in­di­vid­u­als who par­tic­i­pated in the gov­ern­ment-to-gov­ern­ment ne­go­ti­a­tions lead­ing to the pro­cure­ment of the jets. He de­manded a writ­ten re­sponse on the rea­sons that led to the pro­cure­ment through gov­ern­ment-to-gov­ern­ment in­stead of the KDF procur­ing the air­craft on its own be­half since it has the tech­ni­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties. “In the old Pro­cure­ment and As­set De­posal Act, 2005, there is no pro­vi­sion for gov­ern­ment-to- gov­ern­ment. Kindly guide us on what law you used to pro­cure these air­craft,” Mr Wan­dayi said. A Mr C. K Muhia, the chief fi­nance of­fi­cer in the Min­istry of De­fence, used re­stricted ten­der­ing to pro­cure the air­craft since they were se­cu­rity hard­ware.

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