April 10, 2018 / 3:35 PM / in 6 months

Kenyan election body sends top official on compulsory leave

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya’s elections commission has sent its chief executive on three months’ compulsory leave pending an audit, it said, without giving a detailed reason for the move.

FILE PICTURE: Chief Electoral Officer of Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Ezra Chiloba, flanked by chairman Wafula Chebukati and commissioner Roselyn Akombe, addresses a news conference at their offices in Nairobi, Kenya, July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said on Twitter on Monday that its board had decided to send CEO Ezra Chiloba on leave after a majority vote to expand the scope of an audit “on some procurement matters”.

It was not immediately clear what procurement issues the commission is investigating or what impact the audit could have.

Commission spokesman Andrew Limo told Reuters that the tweet was accurate but declined further comment. Chiloba did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

The commission was frequently at the centre of controversy during Kenya’s extended elections season last year, in which around 100 people were killed.

Several days before the Aug. 8 vote, a top official from the commission was found dead in unclear circumstances, adding to a climate of fear surrounding the vote for Kenyans who saw their 2007 election descend into ethnic violence.

The Supreme Court nullified the results of the August election, citing procedural irregularities. It ruled that commission officials had announced results before being able to verify them.

President Uhuru Kenyatta won a repeat vote in October that opposition leader Raila Odinga boycotted.

Reporting by John Ndiso; Editing by Maggie Fick and David Stamp

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