The energy regulator has blatantly defied President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order to publicise its tenders on the public procurement portal.
The directive was seen as a bold move to fight graft since procurement in government remains the bastion of big money corruption in the country that has refused to end despite high profile prosecutions in the recent past.
According to Auditor General Nancy Gathungu, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority did not publish tenders processed during the year under review in the Public Procurement Information Portal.
“This is contrary to the provisions of the Executive Orders issued by the government on public procurement,” Gathungu said.
The Executive Order No2 of 2018 directed that all public entities publish all tenders processed through the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority website, and the Public Procurement Regulatory platforms while the Executive Order No6 of 2016 requires all public entities to migrate their procurement processes to e-procurement.
However, according to the auditor, EPRA is yet to migrate its procurement processes to the e-procurement platform and all purchases were processed manually during the year under review.
The auditor has flagged an overpayment of Sh7.4 million to a service provider for the LPG compliance inspection services.
Whereas the contract was signed for Sh35.8 million, the service provider was paid Sh43.2 million.
Though, Gathungu has warned that the same would rise considering that nine months were remaining to the end of the two-year contract period.
The auditor has also questioned a payment of Sh2.2 million for review of rent currently being paid by EPRA, a payment that the authority was to share equally with its landlord.
According to the lease agreement EPRA entered into with its landlord, it was to pay the valuer Sh1.1 million and the landlord was to pay an equivalent amount.
However, EPRA was found in violation of the Cabinet memo which froze employment of new staffers unless approved by the National Treasury.
In the review period, the authority recruited four petroleum gas officers, a senior petroleum officer, a security officer, two renewable energy officers, a hotline operator, two digital communication assistants and a senior finance officer.
The audit revealed that the officers were hired without the requisite approval of the National Treasury.
“Consequently, the authority was in breach of the government directive,” Gathungu said.
The energy regulator has also been queried for failing to disclose in its financial statements, Sh3.7 million it received from UNEP for the development of electric mobility policies in Kenya.
“There was no evidence that the Treasury Cabinet Secretary was informed of such budgetary changes,” the auditor said.
The auditor flagged the anomaly in her review of the EPRA account books for the financial year ending June 30, 2020.