Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Dr Parick Njoroge is on the spot for irregularly awarding software development company Oracle Kenya Ltd a contract worth Ksh1,334,082,212 in a record time of three days.
Documents in possession of Kahawa Tungu’s investigative desk indicate that CBK announced a tender for supply of Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) software and hardware for the bank on May 25 (Tender number CBK/76/2017-2018). The tender was not placed on the bank’s website, as is the norm with other tenders. Oracle submitted its tender documents (proposal) on May 28 and on May 29 the deal was sealed.
EDW is supposed to automate regulatory data exchange between Central Bank and financial institutions that are under its supervision purview as well as keep a comprehensive dataset of customer, account (instrument) and transaction data that is needed for bank supervision
Sources within and privy to the dubious acts indicate that Njoroge himself oversaw the transaction. On the 509-page proposal presented to CBK by Oracle, the company indicates that it was the governor of CBK himself who expressed interest in Oracle.
“The governor of CBK has expressed interest in Oracle Technology Systems (Kenya) Limited implementing such enterprise data warehouse which would not only help CBK carry out its statutory mandate effectively and efficiently, but also leverage on business intelligence tool to better fulfill its role as the banker for, adviser to, and fiscal agent, of the Government,” reads the proposal in part.
Our moles say that the deal was done in haste before the closure of 2017/18 financial year. This could have been an avenue for Njoroge to loot CBK without being detected, or maybe a way channeling ‘idle’ money to ‘his’ accounts.
Being a member of Catholic’s Opus Dei (which loosely translates to God’s work) where he contributes his earnings, very few would suspect him of any fishy deals.
Our source further states that there were/will be kickbacks for a job well done, and others to silence senior officers at the bank who raised eyebrows on the deal.
The inside source who spoke to Kahawa Tungu on condition of anonymity says that the bank had other cheap and experienced companies at their disposal, raising questions why Njoroge chose Oracle and within a very short time instead of taking time to allow applications and vet them as per the procurement rules.
Other companies that could have been cheaper to CBK include Copy Cat which is East African, SAP, IBM, Dimensional Data and Microsoft. However, staffers who have closely worked with him reveal that he opts for restricted tendering, and the final choice has much to do with his choice but not on the best and cheapest. He hates competitive bidding, and that is how Oracle was selected.
This is the first time Oracle is engaging in such business, which risks failure with a big institution such as CBK being the first and trial customer.
Despite being such a sophisticated and expensive project, Oracle does not include Backup & Restore of customer workload solution, training of CBK staff and advisory services.
“This scope does not cover service management advisory service associated with assistance to CENTRAL BANK OF KENYA in the refinement of CENTRAL BANK OF KENYA’s existing IT service management processes, organisation and tools in relation to the adoption of new platforms or changes to existing platforms. It doesn’t also include provision of formal training (formal training can be agreed with and delivered by Oracle University),” reads the terms and conditions in the proposal.
The package also does not include CBK end user support, including response to end user requests for data restoration. Worse still, testing software for functionality and/or performance errors is not also included in the package list. This means that Oracle may not take responsibility in case the system fails, which would lead to losses.
This is not the first time players in the banking industry are pointing fingers to Dr Njoroge. Early this year, Crane AB has accused CBK of colluding and putting up a spirited defence to award the new currency tender to De La Rue, which would cost taxpayers Ksh800 million more than the lowest bidder.
According to findings of the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB), De La Rue did not win the tender, but was seemingly handpicked by Njoroge who has ruled CBK with a rod of iron since he took over.
The tenders watchdog had ruled that De La Rue did not qualify for the preference margin of 15 per cent applied, adding that the British printer was not the lowest evaluated bidder.
The board had further directed the CBK makes a fresh evaluation of the tenders submitted to it within a fortnight, which was not done and if done not publicised, depicting the rogue nature of Dr Njoroge who does not respect the rule of law.
Njoroge is said to be a dictator feared by his juniors, analysts and industry players in the country and across borders. A South African Senior bank executive was quoted by a local daily terming the governor as intimidating.
“I would rather remain anonymous but Kenya is the only country I have seen this level of intimidation. Our investment bankers cannot speculate. They cannot also attempt to explain what they think is happening in the financial markets. They simply are not allowed to think,” said the banker who chose to remain anonymous, for fear of Njoroge’s wrath.
A quick scrutiny shows that the company was registered in Kenya in 2014, a year before Njoroge was appointed the governor. It’s shareholding is purely foreign, and the same to management.
Most Kenyans who worked for Oracle have been shown the door and their places taken over by foreigners, even in easy tasks that could be undertaken by Kenyans. In fact, most marketing managers and agents are foreign despite the labour laws of the country outlawing foreigners from working as marketers in Kenya.
The three directors who signed the proposal include Ian Mathews (Irish), Simon Alison (British) and Niizan Shaham (Israeli). 99% of its shares belong to Netherlands company Oracle Nederland BV while the remaining 1% is held by Oracle Corporation Nominees Limited of the United Kingdom.
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