The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC) spent millions to buy explosive detectors to enhance security at the national tallying centre.
IEBC told MPs it spent Sh27 million to boost the security of the commissioners and election staff at Bomas of Kenya during the 2017 presidential election.
The money was also used to pay accommodation for the commissioners and poll officials. However, the commission could not name the hotel where the commissioners were accommodated.
Acting CEO Hussein Marjan said the environment at Bomas was volatile and they could not take the security of the commissioners lightly.
“The commission has cited security threats as the reason for accommodating the commissioners at the national tallying centre. But you ended up having them spend nights outside Bomas of Kenya. Why couldn’t they just go and spend in their homes?” PAC chairman Opiyo Wandayi said.
The commission stated it used the funds to procure a security access system, which included explosive and narcotic detectors, walk-through metal detectors, bar and colour-coded badges with photos.
The agency also used millions to obtain bar and colour-coded parking access cards and x-ray scanners.
For the security system, IEBC paid Sh2.2 million more than the Sh12 million it had negotiated with Bomas of Kenya in a signed MoU.
In accommodating the staff, IEBC spent Sh4.6 million on top of the Sh1.5 million it had negotiated with Bomas of Kenya.
The commission also spent Sh20.6 million to hire extra digital screens, LED TVs, projectors and accessories at Bomas.
But it is the explosive detectors that caught the attention of members of the National Assembly’s Public Account Committee who questioned how the electoral body engaged itself with securing the national tallying centre, which ordinarily is a national security matter handled by the country’s security apparatus.
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Wandayi and Garissa Township MP Aden Duale wondered at what point the country’s security, especially at the national tallying centre, was delegated to IEBC.
“Election is a national security matter from polling station to the national tallying centre. The issue of securing the national tallying centre has always been in the hands of the police, military and national intelligence,” Duale said.
“Everything at the IEBC is always an emergency and negotiations. I saw General Service Unit officers manage security at Bomas of Kenya. Since when did IEBC start procuring explosive detectors?’
Marjan said the additional security measures were necessary as they did not want to take chances with the security of the venue.