By Jakowiti Atwech
Parliamentary House Committee has given the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) three months to prosecute senior officials at the Labour ministry who sold state vehicles for as little as Sh12,000 through a secret auction.
The ministry of Labour reportedly auctioned 17 cars after it advertised the sale on April 7, 2017 in a local daily instead of at least two daily newspapers of national circulation contrary to Section 96(2) of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015.
The House blamed the PS in the tendering process that led to the loss of public funds and assets, claiming the value for money could not be ascertained.
A Peugeot 504 Station Wagon was sold for Sh12,000 while three Nissan Patrols, which had received combined bids of Sh5.2 million, were sold for Sh522,000.
- “The DPP should move with speed and prosecute all those found to be culpable in the irregular disposal of the vehicles,” Opiyo Wandayi, who chairs PAC, said in a report adopted by Parliament.
The House wants the Labour CS Ukur Yatani discipline the PS and the officers who were involved in the disposal of the assets contrary to Section 72(1) of the Public Finance Management Act, No. 8 of 2012 and surcharge the officers where the amount of loss is quantified.
Former Auditor-General Edward Ouko singled out the sale of 17 government vehicle (GK) that were disposed of through auction.
Mr Ouko said a Peugeot 504 belonging to the Ministry of Labour was sold for Sh12,000 while the top of the range MM Nissan Patrol was sold for a measly Sh145,000 despite one bidder offering to pay Sh2.1 million.
But the Labour PS Ibrahim Mohamed disputed the audit findings, arguing that the reserve prices were determined through an objective and independent process undertaken by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.
- “No vehicle was disposed-of at a lower price than the reserved price and therefore there was no loss of public funds and assets,” Dr Mohamed said in submissions to PAC.
According to the Auditor General, a VW Passat, registration GK A990T, with no visible damage had a reserve price of Sh30,000 and attracted a bid price of Sh100,000 but only Sh 32,000 was received from a different bidder.
The PAC also heard that a Nissan Patrol, GK A 692Y, attracted a bid price of Sh2.1 million but only Sh145,000 was receipted.
GK A 488P, a Nissan Patrol had a reserve price of Sh131,000 and attracted a bid price of Sh1.3 million but only Sh250,000 was receipted
Details of the auction were also not provided for audit verification, which could have enabled identification of unpaid and unsold motor vehicles, bid process and the bidders present among others. The auditor said the winning bidders at the auction dated April 12, 2015 were required to pay 25 percent deposit at the fall of the hummer but none paid since the payment receipts are dated April 13, 2016.