Top Treasury officials have been summoned to Parliament to explain why election officials and service providers have not been paid Sh1.9 billion, eight months after the last General Election.
This is after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) told MPs that it did not have money to clear Sh574 million that is due to polling clerks, presiding and returning officers.
“The commission owes county suppliers, service providers and election officials Sh1.949 billion for services rendered during the 2022 General Election and subsequent by-elections,” Obadiah Keitany, IEBC deputy chief executive, told the MPs.
“As of April 4, 2023, the commission had an outstanding exchequer request from the National Treasury amounting to Sh4.3 billion. This amount includes Sh1.949 billion requested on various dates from October 3, 2022, in respect of various suppliers and service providers for all counties.”
The MPs expressed concerns that polling clerks and small county suppliers were languishing and unable to take their children to school, yet they rendered critical services without sleep to the poll agency.
“We will immediately get hold of the Cabinet Secretary to explain when poll officials and suppliers will be paid. We know that delay in payment will attract interest, suppliers who borrowed money to supply goods and services auctioned while ordinary mortals who did not sleep for four nights continue to suffer,” said Mr Murugara.
Daadab MP Farah Maalim demanded that the committee immediately summons Treasury Minister Njuguna Ndung’u over the failure to release the funds to the IEBC for paying election officials and suppliers.
“We need to urgently write a strong letter to the National Treasury and direct that they release the money to pay poll officials by next week,” Mr Maalim said.
The commission drew the attention of the committee that the requested Sh4.3 billion will be reversed from the payment system and will translate to pending bills if the outstanding exchequer request is not funded within this financial year.
“This may consequently attract additional charges in the form of interest and litigation costs due to delayed payment,” Mr Keitany said.
He said the IEBC will not have any additional budget for payments of compensation in cases of delayed payments.
“The affected suppliers may also withhold critical services due to delayed payment,” Mr Keitany said.
The commission asked MPs to help it push for prompt release of the exchequer to settle all outstanding bills.
The IEBC made the revelations of non-payment to election officials and service providers while responding to a question filed by Kabuchai MP Majimbo Kalasinga who sought to know why polling officials had not been paid in Bungoma County.
The IEBC deputy CEO said Bungoma County is owed Sh263.9 million out of which Sh119.6 million relates to payment of polling officials while Sh144.3 million relates to other suppliers and service providers for services rendered during the last General Election and the subsequent senatorial by-elections.