MPs dismiss Monica Juma’s bid to clear her name in graft scandal

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The National Assembly Public Accounts Committee has dismissed a request by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma to have her name expunged from its report over the irregular award of a Sh1.75 billion tender for the provision of comprehensive group life insurance cover for the police and prisons services.

Committee Chairman Opiyo Wandayi said Dr Juma’s request is time-barred since the report has already been adopted by the House.

He said the committee relied on facts tabled before it by the Office of the Auditor-General.

In a letter to National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai dated November 25, seeking to have her name expunged from the report, Ms Juma argued that by the time she took office as accounting officer at the Interior ministry, the contract had already been signed.

“I took over office of Principal Secretary in the Department of Interior on Wednesday, August 20,2014. By the time I took office, the said contract had been signed and executed,” she said.

“In the light of this, I urge that my name be expunged from the report. This is critical because as it is, when the report was tabled in Parliament, the recommendations of the PAC were reported in the Daily Nation, generating huge public interest and damaging my person,” she added.

CULPABILITY

She expressed fears that failure to correct the report’s recommendations would damage her reputation.

But Mr Sialai responded that he had already forwarded the letter to Mr Wandayi for consideration.

And Mr Wandayi said: “The report has already been adopted and the avenues the CS has for now is to either lobby the entire House to rescind its decision, or go to court for an order to expunge the offending section(s).” Mr Wandayi told the Nation.

In a report tabled before the House two weeks ago, PAC recommended that Dr Juma be held accountable for the irregular award of the tender when she was the Interior PS.

INVESTIGATE

The details of the report are contained in the PAC report based on Auditor-General Edward Ouko’s report on the national government’s financial statements for the 2014/15 financial year.

The committee directed the EACC and DCI to investigate the procurement of the insurance scheme.

“Much as the provision of the insurance cover was required, the accounting officer (PS) erred and did not adhere to the provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2005. She should therefore be investigated with a view to being prosecuted, if found culpable,” the report says.

Dr Juma is accused of introducing a new criterion during the evaluation and comparison of tenders, and cancelling the tender with the lowest bid, contrary to the procurement law and the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act of 2012.

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