ICT ministry defies Rotich to purchase Sh104m fuel guzzlers

Auditor-General Edward Ouko says the ministry bought 23 fuel guzzlers. file photo | nmg
Auditor-General Edward Ouko says the ministry bought 23 fuel guzzlers. file photo | nmg 

The ICT ministry is on the spot for disregarding the Treasury rules by purchasing four-wheel-drive vehicles at a cost of Sh104 million despite the official shift towards car leasing.

Auditor-General Edward Ouko says the ministry bought 23 fuel guzzlers despite being given an exemption to purchase 12 and capped the expenditure at Sh70.6 million.

The ministry also breached its own approved budget of Sh91.2 million, which is contrary to the law. In 2010, Kenya introduced a policy of leasing of motor vehicles as opposed to purchasing to cut transport costs.

Mr Ouko said the ministry in January 2015 obtained authority from the Treasury principal secretary to buy 12 four-wheel-drive cars at a total cost of Sh70,695,190.

“As reported previously, records available indicate that a total of Sh104,335,548 was spent on the purchase of motor vehicles during the year under review against a budgetary provision of Sh91,200,000 resulting in unauthorised over expenditure of Sh13,135,548,” he says in a qualified audit opinion of the ICT ministry for the year to June 2016.

Under the leasing plan, the State pays a fee to the respective dealers who undertake to provide a certain number of insured and serviced vehicles over several years.

In the current plan, car dealers have committed to service the government vehicles for a period of four years or until they clock 160,000 kilometres, whichever comes first.

The government, in return, pays a monthly, quarterly or annual fee and returns the vehicles to the dealer once the contract expires. The government previously bought vehicles from dealers and incurred the costs of insurance, maintenance and depreciation.

The audit report, tabled in Parliament by Leader of Majority Aden Duale also puts the ministry on the spotlight over the irregular partitioning of Teleposta Towers, tilling of Uchumi House and refurbishment of a stand at Nairobi Show Ground at a cost of Sh25.8 million.

Mr Ouko said the Ministry violated the law and used restricted tendering in the award of the tenders contrary to section 29(3) of the Procurement and Disposal Act 2005 on use of restricted tendering.

The law requires an entity to obtain the written approval of its tender committee and record in writing the reasons for using the alternative procurement procedure.