By Collins Omulo
City Hall has been put on the spot for spending Sh6.3 million on fireworks for New Year celebrations.
The expenditure is one of the audit queries raised by the Auditor-General's report into the 2016/2017 financial year spending by the county government.
It also emerged that the county government contravened the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2015 by applying a restricted tendering process in order to favour the company which supplied the fireworks products.
The Auditor-General further poked holes into the payment process, saying that vouchers lacked contract documents rendering the propriety of the expenditure dubious as it could not be confirmed.
Nairobi County Cooperatives and Tourism Chief Officer Machira Gichohi was taken to task by the County Assembly Public Accounts Committee over the flawed procurement process and costly fireworks.
Kilimani MCA Moses Ogeto claimed that prior to initiation of the procurement process, the department had already floated two companies with specific quantities in milligrams of the fireworks that were to be used.
"The [tender committee] meeting was done on December 22, 2016 during... while the local purchase order was done on December 18 and the payments done on December 16. How is this even possible?" asked Mr Ogeto.
Appearing before the committee last week, Mr Gichohi failed to explain the anomalies in the tendering process but defended the expenditure saying such celebrations make Nairobi more attractive to tourists.
It was Mabatini MCA Wilfred Odalo who raised concerns at the high cost of the fireworks, saying the funds should have gone to more important projects.
Nominated MCA June Ndegwa said development projects and effective service delivery are more needed than attracting tourists to the city.
But Mr Gichohi dismissed her criticism, saying the county is planning an even bigger fireworks display this year.
"There will more fireworks this year to light up the entire city as a way of improving on our domestic and foreign tourism. We will light up the city to put it on a higher pedestal compared to other cities of the world like Sydney, Melbourne and even New York," said Mr Gichohi.
The committee has resolved to summon all the tender committee officers who authorised the 2016 procurement.
They include Mr Luke Gatimu, Mr George Wambua, Ms Ann Kiaruri, Ms Winnie Matimu, Dr Samuel Ochola, Dr Solomon Obielo, Mr Patrick Mwangangi, Mr John Obuk and Mr Nyaduda Ambeka.