April 14, 2024

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State Department of TVETs Unmasked as EACC, DCI Challenged to Probe Tender Flaws

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BY RASHID JUMA, FEBRUARY 25, 2024

The State Department of Technical and Vocational Education Training Centres (TVET) is on the spot over a number of Tender malpractices and unprecedented rot instigated by senior officers.

A  senior procurement officer Priscilla Wanyiri is among those on the spot for alleged collusion with cartels and other senior officers in the education sector to influence the procurement process in favour of companies directly linked to them.

The cartel, taking  advantage of available loopholes are believed to have amassed millions  by using smart but traceable ways to flout the  Public Procurement Asset and Disposal Act 2015.

A case in point is the award of Tender Number MOE/SDV TT/ OTE/6/2023-2024 for erection and completion of twin workshop,classrooms and two-storey office block at Nyali Technical and Vocational College.

Also on the spot is Esther Thaara Muoria the Principal Secretary in the State Department for TVETs. She is the former County Secretary Embu County Government where she also battled accusations of soliciting millions in the controversial construction of the infamous Moi Stadium.

There is also another probe involving the Ministry of Education and State Department for Technical, Vocational Education and Technical Institutions  in the tender involving the proposed erection and completion of twin  twin workshop, classrooms and offices block
(2-storey) at Kilifi South Technical and Vocational College.

Read also: How Weru Training College Principal is Swindling Millions through Irregular Tender Awards

This is under tender reference number MOE/SDVTT/DTE/5/2023 -2024.

The tender  processes in TVETS have been subject to both Senate and National Assembly Parliamentary oversight committees.

In regard to the Nyali project, the process has attracted the attention of investigative agencies who are hell bent on unmasking the truth and consequently bringing to book possible culprits.

The State Department has been accused of tactically axing out qualified companies by giving frivolous reasons when such companies have history of working with the government for years.

Some of the reasons revolve around price  schedules, bind bonds and provision of  tax compliance certificates.

This is despite such companies having provided  all requirements.

The State Department has been accused of playing hide and seek games when asked to provide  invitation tender notices as provided for under section 74 of the Public Procurement Asset and Disposal Act 2015, list of all entities that tender and other relevant documents as the provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2015.

Procurement officers and the State Officers could face possible charges of awarding tenders to people and companies with questionable history and some that have been flagged for ghost supplies.

“They are  making millions through dubious means and  locking out legit and qualified suppliers from the supply chain,” a source at the State Dep who talked to the writer said.

The Auditor General has continuously questioned the tendering processes for TVETs where area Member of Parliaments have allegedly colluded with procurement officers to siphon public resources.

In the FY 2022/2023, over Ksh 300 million could not be accounted for in the sector.

The Nyali TVC is one of the institution that had more Procurement flaws and stakeholders in the constituency are now calling for stern action to be taken.

President William Ruto is on record  warning  that his Administration will not condone any form of corruption and Nyali residents are now inviting the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission ( EACC) and the Director of Criminal Investigations ( DCI) to initiate investigations into the procurement process at Nyali TVC.

The authorities are also finalizing their investigation on Massive and endless looting at Weru Technical and Vocational Training College that has remained the order of the day even as the institution grapples with funding challenges.

The technical institution hit headlines over alleged loss of millions through irregular tender awards orchestrated senior officers.

There was surprise when the  Regional Director for TVETs  was named in what has become the norm across the country.

Another case that hit headlines is the award of tender number WTVC/ BW/01/2023/2024 for extension of classrooms.

The tender was worth Sh3,574,012 million. It was awarded to Tatawe Investment Company Limited which is associated with close allies of Weru senior officers.

The principal and his cartel were accused of bagging over Sh1.4 million as kickbacks from the tender with only one class having been extended.

In 2023, the National Assembly Public Investments Committee (PIC) on Governance and Education  launched a probe into institutions of higher learning as well as TVETS.

This is after the Auditor General raised pertinent queries in management of TIVETS.

The Parliamentary Committee which targets public Universities, Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions, and Technical Training institutes has been challenged by activists in the education industry to probe more institutions including the Nyali case.

Committee Chairman Jack Wamboka has been adamant about the need to streamline operations in the education sector.

The committee unearthed  gross financial malpractices and promised to help nab all those involved.

The committee in its report raised issues involving mismanagement of public resources, laxity, and incompetence of accounting officers, adding that the committee would go after the officers involved to recover lost funds.

“We are here to protect the public good and ensure that there is value for money for every shilling sent to these public institutions,” he said.

Some of  the institutions it was found out  had never been audited by the PIC.

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