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Committee defied orders to do fresh wheelbarrow tendering, court told

One of the wheelbarrows purchased by the Bungoma county government at Sh109,000. 

A Bungoma county government committee sanctioned the purchase of nine wheelbarrows at an inflated cost of Sh1 million after ignoring recommendations for a fresh tender, a court has heard.

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Wycliffe Sirengo, an official from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), told a Kakamega court during cross-examination that the tender committee ignored the recommendation made by the evaluation committee.

Mr Sirengo said the nine wheelbarrows cost Sh983,880, yet the most the county government should have spent was Sh54,000.

The county paid Sh109,320 for each wheelbarrow yet investigations found they were locally manufactured and there was no way they could have cost beyond Sh6,000 each.

Sirengo affirmed that Jagla Enterprises, the company that supplied the wheelbarrows, was the lowest bidder at Sh109,320 per wheelbarrow compared to three other companies.

“After the possible bidders were identified, one company, Jemeadi Enterprises conducted a market survey and was ready to import the wheelbarrows from the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, Jagla Enterprises was contacted to supply the wheelbarrows but at a very high price,” said Sirengo.

He said Jemeadi Enterprises had quoted the price of one wheelbarrow at Sh122,000 but in his survey, Sirengo established that one wheelbarrow retailed at between Sh3,000 and Sh6,000 in various towns.

Manufacturer’s name

He added that although the wheelbarrows had the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) stamp, they didn’t have the manufacturer’s name, which was hard to get from the local supplier.

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“The wheelbarrows purchased were said to be stainless steel to prevent rusting but Kebs states that corrosion can be prevented through oiled paint.”

Sirengo was testifying in a case in which seven members of the tendering committee have been charged in court.

The seven are accused of five counts of failure to comply with the law relating to the management of funds and incurring of expenditure.

They include John Juma Matsanza (county secretary), Howard Lukadilu (chairman) and Oscar Onyango Ojwang (vice chairman).

Others are Ayub Tuvaka China, Arlington Shikuku Omushieni, Jacquiline Nanjala Namukali and Reuben Cheruiyot Rutto. The eighth suspect, Christine Kangonya Mulanda, has never been arraigned as she is said to be studying in Russia.

Chief Magistrate Bildad Ochieng’ adjourned the case until November 6, when the defence will make submissions.

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