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Economy

Taxpayers lose Sh2.3bn in uninsured VIP chopper

Auditor-General Edward Ouko. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Auditor-General Edward Ouko. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Taxpayers have lost Sh2.3 billion after a chopper bought for top government officials crashed five months after its registration without insurance and warranty.

Auditor-General Edward Ouko says the Interior ministry confirmed that the Twin Turbine Engine VIP Carrier Helicopter was not insured and bought under confidential items, meaning purchase details were kept out of public scrutiny.

The plane was registered on April 26, 2016 and crashed on September 8, 2016 in a period when the chopper was expected to have a warranty.

The auditor reckons that the loss is unlikely to be recovered given the chopper had no insurance and warranty. The warranty was only or parts, especially the electronics.

“Although tendering and contract documents have not been availed [sic] for audit review, the ministry has explained that the purchase of the helicopter is classified,” he said.

“However, I could not carry out further investigations on the loss arising from the accident as required under regulation 159 of the Public Finance Management (National Government) Regulations, 2015,” Mr Ouko said.

He said there is no accident report as required under regulation 148 of the Public Finance Management (National Government) Regulations, 2015.

Mr Ouko said it is not possible to categorise the loss of the helicopter in terms of natural causes, technical or pilot’s error as required by the law in the absence of the accident report.

“The ministry has further confirmed through a letter dated May 10, 2017 that ‘the helicopter did not have a warranty as a unit but parts such as avionics had’,” Mr Ouko said.

He said failure to provide required warranties for avionics or aviation electronics in line with the law makes it impossible for the auditor to determine whether the helicopter was new or refurbished.

The ministry, he said, has not given details of parts “purportedly under warranty or given reasons for failure by the manufacturer to compensate lost parts under warranty.”

The documents not provided for audit include engine technical logs, log books, techsheets, KCAA engine log books, KCAA aircraft log book, techlogs and maintenance file.

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