Kenyan military on the spot over purchase of sh1.58bn defective planes

King Abdullahi II of Jordan with President Uhuru Kenyatta []

The Auditor-General Edward Ouko has put the Kenyan military on the hot seat over purchase of seven combat aircraft from Royal Jordan Air Force worth sh1.58 billion.

The planes have not been used for the last 10 years and defects cited during their purchase in 2007 have not been corrected as at the last inspection date, June 2016, reports Business Daily.

In an audit report dated March 2017 and submitted to Parliament, Ouko cited that Kenyans may have gotten a raw deal since the expensive military aircraft have not been used in 10 years.

“An audit verification of the aircraft was carried out in June 2016 at Laikipia Air Base and…audit of fuel and servicing records indicate that the seven aircraft have not been in operation from the time they were procured,” states the Auditor-General.

He says that after the aircraft was inspected and defects realized, spare parts were procured at a cost of sh$12,956,827 on an unspecified date through restricted tendering instead of procuring directly from the specific aircraft manufacturer.

“I am unable to confirm under the circumstances whether value for money was obtained in the procurement of these spare parts or whether payments for the spare parts were lawfully and effective as required under Article 229(6) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.”

The report adds that the Ministry of Defense while purchasing the military aircraft also procured services and spare parts through government-to-government negotiations and signed several contracts.

However, technical assistance and maintenance services costing $12,264,995 captured in the agreement made on April 27, 2007 have not been availed for audit review.

“A direct procurement of supplementary services for the fleet was signed on January 30, 2009 for a sum of $2,883,561. However, details of these services have not been provided for audit review contrary to provisions of Section 9 (i)(e) and (f) of the Public Audit Act, 2015,” he states.

Ouko also raised questions regarding purchase of two hydraulic excavators bought by the ministry.

According to the report, the ministry purchased two Caterpillar 374 DL through direct procurement from Mentrac Kenya Ltd at a cost of Sh185.3 million instead of Sh40 million which was the prevailing market price at the time (2011/2012).

“No explanation has been given so far for excess and illegal payment of Sh145,323,993 over and above the market price,” he adds.

By Pharis Kinyua. He’s an online Journalist and an author for Jamhuri News.