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Cartels an obstacle in Interior ministry procurements, reveals Nkaissery

05 November 2015, 08:07 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – Interior Cabinet Secretary, Joseph Nkaissery has revealed that for the last nine months of taking over the Security docket, he has been battling with powerful cartels involved in the ministry’s major procurements.

Nkaissery, who appeared before the National Assembly’s Public Accounts committee (PAC) chaired by Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda) said powerful wheeler dealer and “traffic of vendor cartels” involved in the ministry’s tenders shuttled between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto’s Harambee House offices.

He revealed to the committee that he had to seek President Kenyatta’s intervention to kick out the tender cartels from the multi-billion shilling procurement deals in the ministry.

“Within 90 days of taking over office as Interior CS, there was a lot of traffic of vendors of cartels in the ministry. I asked the President to give me the boundaries and the red line of how far I need to go,” said Nkaissery.

“He told me that there is no boundary in the fight against corruption,” he added after the committee asked him if he was aware that a lucrative tender for procurement of helicopters and ammunitions was “awarded to friendly individuals by the ministry.”

Nkaissery had been invited by the committee to shed light on the procurement of helicopters and purchase of arms, particularly reasons that led to cancelation of a tender for the overhaul of three MI dash helicopters, the supply and developer of new turbine helicopters and purchase of second hand ammunition from “friendly” manufacturers in breach of procurement laws.

Read Also: President Kenyatta's silence over Waiguru questionable, says MP

“I kicked out so many cartel vendors from Harambee House. There was one that was shuttling between Harambee House (President Kenyatta’s office) and Harambee House Annex (Ruto’s office). This man came to my office one day and I kicked him out of the office,” said Nkaissery.

For instance, Gumbo mentioned Prime Five Government Manufacturers limited as one such friendly company dealing with the ministry.

Nkaissery denied knowledge of the firm. He said the cancellation of the tenders were necessitated by change of government policy to e-procurement and were done in line with procurement laws.

He also declined to respond to the question that the ministry had procured ammunition from friendly manufacturers and demanded that the committee discloses the said manufacturers.

“That question has been framed by people who have lost in tenders. The ministry does not buy second hand arms. The arms and ammunition contracts were awarded to a reputable firm and the production of the firearm is ongoing,” said Nkaissery.

“The ministry is scheduled to send a team including two MPs to Czech Republic to go to the pre-shipment inspection of this weapon,” he added.

PAC also interrogated Nkaissery who was accompanied by his two Principal Secretaries on alleged conflict of interest in the sourcing of tender for supply of new second generation number plates by the Kenya Prisons.

Gumbo further demanded to know why a team from the Prisons department visited Pretoria in South Africa prior to floating of bids.

Nkaissery and his Coordination Principal Secretary, Joseptha Mukobe said the procurement of second generation number plates deal has stalled following a misunderstanding between the supplier of plate manufacturing machines and the ministry.

Mukobe said Tropical Technology Suppliers contractor, which won the tender at a cost of KES 15 million had refused to train prison officers on the use of equipment.

She revealed that Tropical Technology Suppliers which procured the equipment from Germany had demanded KES 760 million for supply of materials to manufacture the new generation number plates.

Mukobe added that two tenders were issued, one for the supply of machines and the other for supply of raw materials for the number plates.

“Tropical Technology supplied and installed the machines for number plates. We were to issue another tender for materials. They have refused to train our officers as part of the contract. They were added three months which expired in September and we are confused of what to do next,” Mukobe told the committee.

The Assistant Commissioner of Prisons in charge of Enterprise, Josphat Ituka revealed that the contract  for supply of number plate blanks amounted to USD 2.3 million,  hot stamp foil USD 1.4 million and other size plat blanks that cost USD 20 million was declined by the ministry.

The committee directed the Principal Secretary to furnish the House with proper explanation on the stalled procurement of the new generation number plates.

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