A group of lawmakers is planning to request a congressional investigation of a $418 million U.S. weapons sale to Kenya approved by the Obama administration on its last day in office.
The sale, approved by the State Department and privately notified to Congress on January 19, would allow Kenya to buy 14 weaponized crop-duster-like planes — including two trainer planes and services, for missions against terrorist group al-Shabaab.
The deal was publicly announced the Monday after Trump’s inauguration.
A handful of lawmakers, led by Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), are questioning why the contract to produce the planes was awarded to major defense firm L3 Technologies — which has never produced such a plane — while a smaller, disabled veteran-owned company in North Carolina that already make those planes at a lower cost was not considered.
The Mooresville, N.C. company, IOMAX USA Inc., costed out 14 planes at $237 million dollars, according to a Budd aide.
“It looks like politics,” Budd said in a phone interview with Breitbart News on Monday. “Why are they sending it to someone that’s produced zero, for twice the price? This is inappropriate.”
It is not just Republicans puzzled by the matter. Georgia Democrat Sanford Bishop will join Republicans in signing a letter being sent to the Kenyan ambassador to the U.S. on Tuesday.
The letter, obtained first by Breitbart News, says, “We believe Kenya would benefit by exploring its options in regard to this acquisition.”
“We ask that the Government of Kenya take these facts, in particular the prospect of an ongoing congressional investigation of this sale, under consideration as it decides whether or not to proceed with this arms purchase,” says the letter.
The request for an investigation comes after the lawmakers have unsuccessfully tried to figure out how the New York-based L3 received the “sole-source” primary contract, which means there is only one known source for the equipment requested, or only one single supplier that can fulfill the requirements.