Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya was Wednesday put to task to explain why his administration dished out contracts without tendering, favoured the highest bidders and violated laws in the procurement for county projects.
Appearing before a Senate committee to respond to audit queries, Mvurya was hard-pressed to justify the anomalies flagged in the procurement for county projects.
He appeared before the Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC) to explain the audit issues.
The queries are flagged by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu in her 2018-19 audit report on the financial operations of the county executive.
In the report that exposes the possible loss of public money, the Mvurya-led administration committee several anomalies in the award of the contacts amounting to Sh32.28 million.
They include the award of a contract for maintenance of Lunga Lunga Road at a cost of Sh3.54 million.
The contract was cancelled 45 days and awarded to another bidder without retendering as per the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015.
Further, the county awarded a Sh14.06 million contract for the construction of a bridge at Makwembe in Pongwe-Kikoneni Ward.
“However, the contract was signed on June 18, 2019, after the set deadline of May 31, 2019” the report states.
In addition, a contract for road Improvement at Mnyenzeni-Mudzi Ubomu-Doti at a contract sum of Sh4.68 million was awarded to the highest bidder in 2015-16.
“However, no evidence was availed to confirm that previous invoices had not been settled,” the report says.
Another contract for the construction of Mkongani-Deri-Ndavaya Road at a contract sum of Sh10 million was signed on 24 June 2019 after the set deadline on May 31, 2019.
The contract was awarded seven days after notification.
“It was also noted that the budgetary allocation for the Mkongani-Deri-Ndavaya Roads project was only Sh6 million,” the report read.
In his response, the governor defended his administration, saying that his officers followed the law in the award of the tenders contrary to the auditor’s assertions.
The county boss explained that the procurement for maintenance of the Lunga Lunga Road was done in compliance with the public procurement and Asset Disposal Act 2015.
He explained that one of the unsuccessful bidders challenged the decision of the Accounting Officer on April 28, 2019.
“Subsequently the accounting officer suspended the award on May 6, 2019, to facilitate re-evaluation of the tender. This process was concluded on May 8, 2019, and the tender was awarded to the successful bidder on May 31, 2019,” he said.
He further explained that procurement for Mwakamba footbridge and Mkongani-Deri-Ndavaya road were approved by the Accounting Officer in accordance with the provision of the PFM Act.
“The project was awarded to the lowest evaluated bibber in compliance with the Public procurement law. Payments were made in three instalments as per the attached payment vouchers,” he said.
But the nine-member committee took issue with his response, questioning why he had not submitted to auditors at the time of the audit, the said documents provided to the committee to explain the queries.
“The audit cannot say you breached the law and you are saying you did not break any law. Unless you are saying you came up with your own laws,” committee chairman Ochillo Ayacko said.