MPs deny KCB Sh375m ballot paper cash deal

A House committee has moved to avert a crisis at the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) by approving an allocation of Sh2.5 billion for the purchase of delayed ballot papers in what would deny KCB #ticker:KCB a multi-million shilling financing deal.

The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Monday held an emergency meeting with IEBC chief executive Ezra Chiloba where it was agreed that MPs be lobbied to approve changes to the Supplementary Budget II to allow the IEBC pre-access Sh2.5 billion already allocated in the 2017/18 budget.

The committee members through acclamation agreed to the release of the funds, removing a legal hurdle that saw MPs last week shoot down a request by the IEBC to access part of the Sh22.26 billion budget for the new financial year starting July in the current fiscal period ending this month.

The cash accessed early is meant for acquiring ballot papers — whose delivery is delayed beyond the May 28 deadline following a tendering dispute.

The MPs argued that the proposals by the Treasury were unprocedural as the relevant House committee had not reviewed the additional budget item.

READ: MPs reject Sh2.5bn ballot papers pay weeks to poll

Letter of credit

The stalemate prompted the IEBC to seek a letter of credit of a guarantee for payment to a Dubai-based firm supplying the ballot papers from KCB Group.

The bank has agreed to issue the letter of credit at 14 per cent of the contract sum of Sh2.5 billion or Sh350 million and one per cent processing fee, taking the full financing cost to Sh375 million.

Mr Chiloba on Monday told the committee the commission needs to secure a letter of credit amounting to Sh2.5 billion for Dubai firm, Al Ghurair, to start printing 120 million ballot papers needed for the August 8 polls.

The printer, Mr Chiloba said, plans to start printing the poll materials on June 25 after agreeing on the multi-billion shillings ballot paper contract on June 8.

“During the negotiations, Al Ghurair were adamant that they needed to secure the contract with a letter of credit at least 48 days before elections. This timeliness fall within the current financial year and yet Parliament had approved the budget to be spent in the next financial year,” Mr Chiloba said.

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