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Kibicho taken to task over police helicopters deal

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 08:01 |
Interior Permanent Secretary Karanja Kibicho. PHOTO/COURTESY

Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho was yesterday taken to task to explain why the ministry paid Sh900 million more for three new Turbine Engine Helicopter for the National Police Service .

The additional payment was above the Sh4 billion budgeted for the acquisition of the helicopters with the National’s Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) accusing Kibicho of  failing to conduct due diligence thus occasioning additional expenditure on taxpayers.

 Appearing before the committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, the PS said extra cost was incurred because the technical committee that had been tasked to come up with specifications of the new aircraft failed to factor in additional features.

He said, instead, the team had only cut and pasted the specifications of previous helicopters that the ministry had, yet they required new helicopters with additional features.

 “However, during negotiations carried out on May 8 ,2017, the total cost of the tender went up from the original bid price of Euros 31, 941, 200 to Euros 7, 182, 157 (906, 100, 927) contrary to tender evaluation committee recommendation for negotiation to lower the price without compromising the technical specifications in the tender,” he said.

Kibicho observed: “The items that were bought are not the items captured in the original tender documents; the technical team picked the specification of previous choppers and reproduced them. They just cut and paste the previous specification and then when they went to buy they realised they needed additional features.”

Expressed shock

 But Wandayi expressed shock that the expenditure occurred because of errors and change of specification in the original tender documents that had been used to procure the new helicopters.

According to a document tabled by Kibicho, the additional items that they required included weather radar, enhanced ground proximity warning system, additional flight display and FLIR Ultra force 350 EP cameras.

Other specifications that saw a price increment, include cost of transportation, spare parts, training of pilots, cost of two year technical support, foldable seats, inter-mediate inspections and slid shoes.

The  PS, however, exonerated the technical team over the additional cost. “As for the additional items included, the technical team was not under any force to include them, but did so because they needed them,” he said.

Training helicopter

The three helicopters worth Sh4.billion that were to be bought, included AW139 VIP helicopter whose initial cost was Sh1.9 billion but went up by Sh467.97 million, AW 139 Law Enforcement Helicopter whose cost was Sh1.69 billion but went up by Sh250.1 million and AW119KX training helicopter whose cost was Sh484 million but increasd by Sh186.95 million.

But despite the differences, Kibicho explained that although the final cost of the helicopters went up from the additional equipment, the taxpayers received value for money. He added that the new additional features on the helicopters were necessary for the safety of aircrafts and airworthiness.

Kibicho also said  although police aircrafts are exempted by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) from insuring aircrafts,  the new helicopters  were insured temporarily for training purposes which was requirement by the manufacturer.

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