A new report released by the Kenyan Auditors General’s office says the Department of Defence (DoD) violated accounting procedures in the acquisition of 181 armoured personnel carriers (APCs).
In his 2012/2013 report on government expenditure and accounting, Auditor General (AG) Edward Ouko said the 181 APCs imported by the Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) from various countries between 2008 and 2011 were bought through processes which openly violated national tendering and public accounting laws.
“Available records show that 32 APCs supplied in 2008 were deployed in Southern as part of the Kenyan contingent in Unmiss [UN mission in South Sudan] and are still there to date. The UN identified some flaws with APCs in the field which included; the design of the vehicles on the part allows water to enter into the vehicles which accumulates inside and has to be drained. The ingression of water could affect the normal functioning of the various systems in the vehicle.
“The available tyres cannot withstand a puncture, even for a short time. The APCs have faulty braking systems, faulty gear selection systems, rust on internal parts and have worn-out turret covers. In the absence of a final inspection report covering the flaws observed, it is not possible to confirm that the contract was executed to the satisfaction of the ministry,” Ouko said.
The auditor general also questioned how and why Kenyan APCs were sent to South Sudan when there is no clear paper trail between the government and the UN. The AG recommended that KDF top leadership should provide justification for the purchase of all 181 APCs in question.
Kenya received 32 WZ-551 APCs from China in 2007 and 67 Puma M26 APCs from South Africa in 2011-12 in a $20 million deal as well as ten Lazar infantry fighting vehicles from Serbia in 2012, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The AG’s office says Kenyan military acquisition programmes have been dogged by corruption among top government and military officers. In January 2011, the KDF was forced to publicly justify its acquisition of 15 Jordanian fighter jets for the Kenya Air-Force (KAF) when most turned out to be mechanically defective.
In February 2011, the KDF once again had to defend itself after allegations that tender regulations were short-circumvented to help a South African defence equipment manufacturers firm win a tender to supply an undisclosed number of APCs.
Commenting on the abuse of government procurement systems in Kenya, Ouko said corruption is so entrenched that up to 30 per cent of the entire government budget in any financial year is wasted.
“Last year, Sh338 billion of the total government expenditure for 2011/2012 was unaccounted-for. The total budget for the 2012/2013 financial year stood at Sh1.45 trillion, of which 30 per cent or Sh483 billion is likely to be misappropriated. Not much has changed.
Apparently the Kenyan defence department has prepared a tender for the purchase of 102 APCs in the 2014/15 financial year.