ODM now tar­gets three IEBC of­fi­cials

Party wants new com­mis­sion­ers to vet and re­move Deputy Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Betty Nyab­uto, Di­rec­tor of Voter Reg­is­tra­tion Im­mac­u­late Kas­sait and Di­rec­tor of Le­gal and Cor­po­rate Af­fairs Praxedes Tororey.

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - BY STAR TEAM @TheS­tarKenya

The IEBC saga isn’t over yet — ODM is stok­ing the fire with a new is­sue.

The party now de­mands vet­ting and re­moval of three IEBC of­fi­cials, de­spite com­mis­sion­ers agree­ing to leave only if the sec­re­tariat re­mained in­tact.

ODM chief Raila Odinga also has threat­ened to call mas­sive demon­stra­tions if the nine com­mis­sion­ers re­main in of­fice past Mon­day, October 10, how­ever, that ap­pears to be a non-starter. The com­mis­sion­ers will stay on un­til a new team takes over in late Novem­ber. There’s been si­lence on the promised demos.

Now the op­po­si­tion has re­vived de­mands that three staff mem­bers of the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral and Bound­aries com­mis­sion be vet­ted or re­moved for al­leged mis­deeds in the 2013 elec­tions.

They are Betty Nyab­uto, the Deputy Chief Ex­ec­u­tive; Im­mac­u­late Kas­sait, Di­rec­tor of Voter Reg­is­tra­tion; and Praxedes Tororey, Di­rec­tor of Le­gal and Cor­po­rate Af­fairs.

The al­le­ga­tions were first raised by Cord rep­re­sen­ta­tives ap­pear­ing be­fore the Joint Select Com­mit­tee on elec­toral re­form led by Se­na­tors Ki­raitu Mu­rungi and James Orengo. The com­mit­tee made no find­ings or rec­om­men­da­tions about the three.

ODM di­rec­tor of elec­tions Junet Mo­hamed said his party wants the three re­placed to clean up the IEBC.

“Get­ting the com­mis­sion­ers out was the first step. The next one is get­ting rid of the sup­port staff that worked with the com­mis­sion­ers, be­cause the over­all in­tegrity of next year’s elec­tion and its re­sults can only be guar­an­teed if all the peo­ple who played a part [in 2013] are re­moved,” the Suna East MP told the Star on Fri­day.

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta de­clared the IEBC seats va­cant on Thursday fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of nine com­mis­sion­ers on Wed­nes­day. A se­lec­tion panel to in­ter­view their re­place­ments has been named. But it can­not be sworn in be­cause nom­i­nated Chief Jus­tice David Maraga is yet to be sworn in him­self.

By law, only af­ter the new com­mis­sion­ers are sworn can staff mat­ters be dealt with.

When they agreed on Au­gust 3 that they would re­sign, the IEBC bosses set two con­di­tions: that they not be in­ves­ti­gated any fur­ther for al­leged wrong­do­ing and that sec­re­tariat staff be re­tained for con­ti­nu­ity in or­gan­is­ing the polls on Au­gust 8 next year.

But ODM has pre­pared a mem­o­ran­dum re­gard­ing the three staff that it plans to present to the new com­mis­sion­ers.

The op­po­si­tion party says Nyab­uto chaired the Ten­der Com­mit­tee which awarded a con­tract for trans­port­ing elec­tion ma­te­ri­als to an un­reg­is­tered

com­pany at an ex­or­bi­tant price. Nyab­uto is also ac­cused of en­gag­ing in ir­reg­u­lar pro­cure­ment of Bio­met­ric Voter Reg­is­tra­tion (BVR) kits from San­fran Mor­pho of Canada by sin­gle-sourc­ing them at a cost of Sh6.2 bil­lion.

When she ap­peared be­fore the Par­lia­ment com­mit­tee, Nyab­uto, a for­mer a CEO of the Law So­ci­ety of Kenya, de­nied all the al­le­ga­tions and de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

“All the com­pa­nies that were awarded by the Ten­der Com­mit­tee were reg­is­tered and all re­spon­sive bid­ders who met the pre­lim­i­nary stage re­quire­ments were sub­jected to a tech­ni­cal eval­u­a­tion be­fore mov­ing to the fi­nan­cial eval­u­a­tion stage,’’ she said.

Nyab­uto dis­missed the al­le­ga­tion that the ten­der was awarded at an ex­or­bi­tant price. She said her com­mit­tee made the award based on an eval­u­a­tion re­port.

“The low­est eval­u­ated bid­ders were awarded the ten­der,” she said.

ODM says Kas­sait was re­spon­si­ble for the prin­ci­pal voter’s register, which was de­layed and faulty.

She is also ac­cused of en­gag­ing in ir­reg­u­lar pro­cure­ment of the BVR kits.

In her de­fense, Kas­sait told the Par­lia­ment com­mit­tee she was not re­spon­si­ble for pro­cess­ing and pro­duc­ing the voter register at the com­mis­sion. She said the al­le­ga­tion that she played a role in procur­ing the BVR kits was un­founded be­cause the EACC cleared her in its re­port to Par­lia­ment.

“The al­le­ga­tions are un­founded and should be dis­missed with the con­tempt they de­serve,” she said on Au­gust 20.

ODM wants Tororey to exit the com­mis­sion for pay­ment of le­gal fees to firms al­legedly re­tained ir­reg­u­larly and un­der un­clear cir­cum­stances. The party did not elab­o­rate.

Tor­rey has said all le­gal pay­ments were made in ac­cor­dance with the law. She added that Trea­sury and the Au­di­tor Gen­eral car­ried out an au­dit that did not re­veal ad­verse find­ings.

“I there­fore find the al­le­ga­tions spu­ri­ous, un­founded in law, lack merit and are borne out of mal­ice aimed at harm­ing my pro­fes­sional rep­u­ta­tion,” she said.

Yes­ter­day ODM lead­ers said they were not sat­is­fied with the re­sponses given by the three.

In its re­port, the Joint Select Com­mit­tee rec­om­mended the new com­mis­sion­ers vet mem­bers of the sec­re­tariat and take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions ac­cord­ing to the law.

“Ar­ti­cles 47 and 236 of the Con­sti­tu­tion guar­an­tee the right of the em­ploy­ees to fair ad­min­is­tra­tive ac­tion and re­quire that the due process of the law be fol­lowed where the dis­missal, re­moval from of­fice, de­mo­tion in rank or dis­ci­pline of a pub­lic of­fi­cer is pro­posed, re­spec­tively,” the re­port said.

/ PATRICK MWAVULA

Mig­ori Govenor Okoth Obado, Kisumu Gov­er­nor Jack Ranguma, ODM leader Raila Odinga and Mom­basa Gov­er­nor Has­san Joho ar­rive for an ODM rally in Kirembe Grounds, Kisumu, last Satur­day

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