Ministry of Finance Statement on Sale of Public Vehicles

The Ministry of Finance has noted with concern an article carried on the front page of Daily Nation newspaper of Monday, 15th December 2008 headlined "Public Vehicles on Sale at Throw Away Prices", which allege that the disposal of vehicles surrendered under the New Government Transport Policy has not been transparent. Nothing can be further from the truth.

It will be recalled that during the presentation of Financial Year 2006/2007 Budget Statement, the Minister for Finance announced the introduction of a new Transport Policy to address weaknesses observed in the existing transport policy, characterized by mismanagement, high maintenance cost and inefficiency, lack of parity in allocation of transport facilities, proliferation of vehicle models and idle capacity due to imbalance between the number of vehicles and drivers; lack of capacity to enforce regulations on the use of Government vehicles and escalating cost of providing Government transport which stood in excess of Kshs.4 billion per annum without corresponding improvement in service delivery.

Consequently, the Government put together a Task Force to operationalize the new Policy and to dispose surrendered vehicles through reallocation to essential services including security services and to sell the surplus through open tender in strict compliance with the provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005.

The Task Force charged with this responsibility include nine qualified Mechanical Engineers to inspect, value and lot the surrendered vehicles and four Senior Procurement Officers to manage the sale process. The disposal process is in compliance with instructions given under the Office of the President Circular letter ref. OP.CA3.23/ 1A of 30th June 2006.

At this point it is important to point out the specific falsehoods carried by the article in question.
Three of the vehicles listed as sold at throw away prices i.e. Toyota Land Cruiser GKA 565G, Mitsubishi Pajero GK A644G and Toyota Land Cruiser GKA 069F are in fact currently deployed at the Ministry of Justice, Constitutional Affairs and National Cohesion to facilitate the work of the Kriegler Commission.

Other surrendered vehicles have been allocated to facilitate the work of the Task Force on Mau Forest and in the Resettlement of the Internally Displace Persons (IDPs)

The Range Rover vehicle registration number GKA 507G said to have been sold at Kshs.1.5 million was actually sold for Kshs.4 million. Vehicles GKA 652K a Toyota Land Cruiser, GKA 799D a Pajero, GKA 811E a Pajero, GKA 344D a Land Cruiser and KAL 0220M a Mercedes Benz all of which are alleged to have been sold at give away prices have in fact been sold through the open tender at prices above reserve price.

The figures of the vehicles and monies realized from the sales as quoted on the said article are incorrect and only represent the rich imagination of the author since they were not verified with our records.

Our records indicate that so far 488 vehicles have been sold through open tender and not 1210 as quoted in the article. The sale has realized a total of Kshs.194,061,335 already paid into the Exchequer.

Another 811 vehicles were advertised for sale which closed on 25th November 2008 and are awaiting tender awards.

Another 789 vehicles are under process to be sold and will be advertised in early January 2009.
In total therefore, the Government has collected 2088 vehicles from various Government Ministries and Departments. The process of surrender will however, continue until all the targeted 2213 vehicles have been accounted for.

Many vehicle-shells lie around Government yards and are now targeted for disposal. Such shells must be distinguished from whole vehicles and it is to be expected that their sales will fetch poor returns.

As it is usual with sales, vehicles realizing prices below the Reserve will normally be withheld for re-tendering.

Section 33 of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act forbid employees of the procuring entity from participating in such sales.

It is the Ministry's view that the article in the Daily Nation was meant to mislead Kenyans and to bring the Government into disrepute. This Ministry wishes to call upon the Media to refrain from irresponsible journalism particularly the type that can destroy the careers of officers who are carrying out their duties with diligence and honesty.

This Ministry has confidence with the members of the Task Force assigned to operationalize the new Transport Policy and they should be allowed to do their job. Skewed articles like the one in question will not help and should be treated with contempt.


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