Defence PS faces MPs over military tender abuse claims

Torome Saitoti.
Defence principal secretary Torome Saitoti. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Defence principal secretary Torome Saitoti is Friday expected before a parliamentary committee over claims of abuse of the tender process that saw the government lose billions of shillings in the supply of meat and other foods to the military.

The probe by the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) comes at a time when the government has raised stakes in the war on rampant corruption in the public service.

Other than Mr Saitoti, PAC chairman Opiyo Wandai said they will question senior officials at the Department of Defence (DoD).

"We have directed the PS and his lieutenants at the ministry to appear before us to tell us why it is so hard for them to follow the law and spend limited public resources prudently," Mr Wandayi said.

The PAC wants to know why DoD knocks out the lowest bidders on the pretext that their bids are too low, forcing the government to spend huge amounts of money on goods that would have otherwise been sourced at a cheaper cost. Mr Saitoti has twice failed to appear before the committee over the issue and it is not clear whether he will honour the summons this time round.

“We will get to the bottom of this matter and no one will be spared, especially those found culpable,” Mr Wandayi said even as it was revealed that firms that fail to play ball and those that challenge the ministry's decisions in court are blacklisted.