18 March 2019

Kenya: Osugo On the Spot Over Sh4.8 Billion Arms Tender

An audit at the Department of Correctional Services has established that the immediate former Commissioner-General of Prisons Isaiah Osugo is to blame for the fraudulent award of Sh4.8 billion classified tenders for the supply of weapons.

The deal was nipped in the bud by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

MACHINE GUNS

While Mr Osugo denies any involvement in the deal, arguing that he was not aware of the plans to buy the equipment, the report recommends that he should be disciplined for misconduct.

Others recommended for punishment are a Mr Mageto, who is the head of the procurement unit, chief finance officer Sarah Kemunto Karandi and members of the tender and evaluation committee who participated in the tendering.

"The matter should be reported to the investigative agencies so that the law can take its course as the process was fraudulently done," the report by internal auditors seen by the Nation states.

The audit also wants the contracts cancelled "as they have raised critical integrity issues due to non-compliance with the statutory provisions of Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Act".

Last month, the EACC stopped the payment of Sh3.6 billion.

The money was to be paid before the delivery of the security items yet there was no tender performance security or bank guarantee, thus exposing the government to losses.

According to the documents, the estimated cost of the equipment that Kenya Prisons had requisitioned, and which were budgeted for in the 2014/15 financial year was about Sh90 million.

The initial items Kenya Prisons had planned to buy included 300 AK 47 rifles, 200 Uzi sub-machine guns, 100 browning pistols, 100 auto tokara pistols, 3,000 pairs of handcuffs and 300,000 rounds of ammunition.

BAFFLED

Also in the list were 1,000 rifle slings, 300 packets of rifle cleaning kits, 300 rifle cleaning rods and 10 vehicle mirror scanners.

Others items were 1,000 helmets, 1,000 batons, 500 firearms registers, two dog carrier pick-ups, 1,000 anti-riot gear and equipment, 64 arms movement books, 300 bullet proof jackets and a similar number of bullet proof vests.

In a strange twist, Mr Osugo reviewed the initial budget in 2017 and included a significant number of calibre guns, which saw the cost skyrocket to Sh4.8 billion.

Kenya Prisons is not listed as a security agency and why the commissioner-general decided to order the weapons is being investigated by EACC detectives.

What has baffled the investigators is that the additional weapons were not factored in the department's budget plans as its core mandate is rehabilitation.

The added items included 5,000 G3 rifles, 3,000 Steyr Aug rifles with accessories, and 3,000 steyr pistols.

Documents seen by the Nation show that, despite denials, Mr Osugo was deeply involved in the entire procurement.

The audit report says the tendering was not fair and transparent.

Out of the nine pre-qualified suppliers, only two firms attached evidence on their capability and technical competence to supply the equipment.

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