The Foreign Affairs Ministry is on the spot for acquiring a property in Kampala for Sh650 million instead of Sh250 million. Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau was hard-pressed to explain why the ministry decided to drop the lowest bidder in favour of the highest one. The acquisition was done during the tenure of Karanja Kibicho as Permanent Secretary- Foreign Affairs.
Lawmakers questioned the economic viability of Chancery building in Kampala’s Kololo area after it emerged that it generates a meagre Sh1.7 million in rent a year. The accuracy of revenue collected by the country’s mission and losses incurred in foreign exchange was also queried. The MPs said the acquisition was a blatant theft of public resources. “Why would you go for the bidder costing that much while disqualifying and failing to award those with the least bids? Whoever was responsible will be held to account personally in the fullness of time,” said MP Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja).
The audit query was raised by Auditor General Edward Ouko in the 2014/15 report. Interior PS Karanja Kibicho was the Foreign Affairs PS at the time. But Mr Macharia defended the acquisition, saying the location was strategic. “The one that was procured was at a better location and big,” he said.