The activities of two officials, Pauline Kamau, a former personal assistant to besieged Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and Wayne Gichira, her adviser on Information Technology, could make or break the county chief’s political career.
A senate select committee was told Pauline was the common denominator in the award of contracts to two companies which were paid millions of shillings under the influence of the governor for services not rendered.
Waiguru, who has been put on impeachment trial, is accused of influencing the composition of tender committees to award herself and cronies lucrative business deals.
The 11-member committee chaired by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, was told that Waiguru influenced the appointment of Pauline and Gichira to influence the award of tenders to specific companies.
“These appointments are strategic so as to act as a conduit to award tenders to the governor’s preferred bidders,” said Mutira Ward Rep David Wangui, who is Waiguru’s lead accuser.
Pauline, the county director of administration, and Gichira, who are alleged to be Waiguru’s close associates, alternated in chairing nearly every tender evaluation committee between 2017 and 2020, which involved multi-million shilling projects.
“It seems, for a company to be awarded a tender in Kirinyaga County, some individual must be chair of that evaluation committee; why is it so?” Kajiado Senator Philip Mpaayei asked the county supply chain management director Joseph Carilus Otieno.
“Do you agree, there were procurement officers?” Mpaayei further probed. Malala sought to know whether the appointment by the two officials to lead the committees was by design and Governor Ann waiguru is not even sorry.
“Is it a deliberate and well-orchestrated chain, connecting events from a controversial appointment to director’s position to a further controversial appointment to chair certain and specific tender committees which will eventually give specific companies tenders?” the senator asked.
“Is it a web that is well-orchestrated to achieve a certain goal in Kirinyaga County government?” Otieno, however, defended Pauline, saying her activities were above board.
“The documents I have presented portray clearly that we endeavour to ensure that chairmen are appointed after due diligence or on ad hoc basis,” he said.
According to charges submitted by MCAs, Pauline chaired a tender evaluation committee that awarded a Sh30.09 million tender for the Kagio matatu parking bay.
The contract, which was reserved for special groups, was controversially awarded to Jipsy Civil and Building Contractors despite the firm not being listed in the National Treasury’s AGPO certified list in 2017-18.
The firm was also the highest bidder. Pauline also headed a committee that awarded a multi-million shilling contract to Humfel Limited for the supply and delivery of assorted pipes for Kenera water project.
The tender was open, and thus companies that had been in existence for at least three years, were qualified. However, the tender was awarded in March 26, 2018 despite the company being incorporated in December 28, 2017. She also chaired a committee that awarded a Sh11.94 million contract to Eva Trading Agencies.
The firm, which was to work on Riagicheru Irrigation water project, has chief officer Mugo Ndathi’s brother as one of the directors.
“There needs to be a China wall between the accounting officer and the people who bid for county tenders. If need be the assembly was to approve, and I am not saying it happened, that this tender was awarded to the brother of the chief officer, in your view, would that constitute a breach of the regulations?”
Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’ asked. But Otieno denied claims Waiguru had strategically placed allies in tender evaluation committees.