Kenyan taxpayers have apparently lost over Sh30 million after the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) bought Kenyan-made staff uniforms and declared them as imports from Canada.
Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu flagged the scandal that saw KPA pay nearly three times more for over 7000 overalls.
In her audit report, Ms Gathungu said during physical verification of the uniforms, she established that they had a local manufacturer’s label.
Additionally, KPA did not provide for audit review, the Import Declaration Forms (IDF) confirming that the high visibility overalls were from Canada.
“Physical verification of the items revealed that the overalls received had a local manufacturer’s label. Further, importation documents (Import Declaration Forms) to confirm that the high visibility overalls were from Canada were not availed for audit review,” Gathungu said.
KPA procured the overalls at a cost of Sh6,475 with the locally made ones going for Sh2,325.
The agency paid Sh47,008,500 for 7,260 alleged Canada-imported overalls, overpaying by Sh30,129,000.
In a report tabled to the House, the National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee (PIC) said the KPA spent a total of Sh49,871,496 for the supply of the overalls “from Canada”.
“In absence of the evidence of importing the impugned uniforms, the committee could not arrive at a contrary conclusion from the audit observation.
“Consequently, the propriety and value for money amounting to Sh49,871,496 spent on high visibility overalls for the year ended June 30, 2019, could not be confirmed,” said PIC Chair Abdulswamad Nassir(Mvita MP).
The PIC now wants the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Authority (EACC) to investigate the procurement of the uniforms and prefer charges on any person found culpable.
On its part, the KPA told MPs that the authority procured and issued two types of overalls.
Acting managing director John Mwangemi said general overalls are issued mostly to engineering and workshop staff while the high visibility orange overalls are issued to operations staff.
“Both of these items were won competitively by M/s Zocom and a contract awarded for Sh6,475 and Sh2,325 respectively.
“The high visibility was issued to operations staff who worked at night and at times in rainy weather where they needed to be visible to avoid accidents and protection against the elements such as rainwater and oil spills,” Mwangemi told the PIC.