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MPs want Ottichilo probed over Sh13m morgue tender

By Hillary Mageka
Friday, November 8th, 2019
Vihiga Governor Wilbur Ottichilo willl be probed by the EACC over morgue tender. PD/ FILE

A Senate watchdog committee has directed the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate Vihiga Governor  Wilbur Ottichilo, his predecessor Moses Akaranga and their respective senior Finance officers over a stalled Sh13 million mortuary block at Mbale Sub-County Hospital.

The County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC) invited EACC to probe the officers to establish if they committed illegalities and irregularities in the procurement of the project’s contractor.

At the same time, the committee recommended that the governor and his Finance Executive Alfred Indeche be surcharged for failing to recover Sh58 million advanced to  various staff as temporary imprests. 

“Governor and your CEC Finance must take responsibility for the Sh58 million unsurrendered imprests,” committee chairman Moses Kajwang’ said. 

“The investigation will cover both adminstrations because they have continued to make payments,” added Kajwang’.

A report of the Auditor General on the financial operations of the Vihiga County Executive for the 2017/18 financial year shows that the county contracted a firm through restricted tendering in January 2015 to implement the project within six months.

No tender register and tender opening minutes were made available for audit examination. 

“The contractor did not provide performance bond equivalent to 10 per cent of the contract sum from a reputable financial institution approved by the Public Procurement and Oversight Authority in favour of the county government before commencing execution of work,” reads the report.

In his defence, Ottichilo had told the committee that his officers procured the contractor—Air Touch Cooling System—because of the urgent need to scale up storage facilities.

However, the explanation did not convince the committee compelling the chair to ask EACC to probe the issue further. 

“If it was an emergency as you have stated, why has this project taken more than three years instead of six months?” Meru Senator Mithika Linturi asked.

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