Seize and try suspects in Kemsa scandals

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) is continuing its apparent endemic notoriety for blatant corruption and mismanagement.

The agency has been rocked by the emergence of Kemsa Scandal II, involving Sh4 billion. This new development is an indictment of the failure of the government officials concerned to thoroughly investigate and have suspects arraigned to act as a deterrent.

In the first scandal, some Sh7 billion intended to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential health facilities at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic ended up in the pockets of a few well-connected individuals. They are still out there strutting around as if they are untouchables despite having caused so much pain and suffering to the people for whom these funds were intended.

Scandal I produced the crooked fellows now referred to as ‘Covid Millionaires’. They made money at the expense of fellow Kenyans, who needed to be protected from the deadly virus.

According to the Auditor-General, the validity and accuracy of Kemsa’s inventory balance, including pharmaceutical and other stocks of Sh17.3 billion cannot be confirmed. It is, therefore, a slap in the face for Kenyans to learn about this new bungled Sh3.7 billion mosquito nets tender.

The deal was meant to enable the procurement of treated mosquito nets for low-income households to prevent malaria. And thanks to its own sloppiness, the state corporation has lost the 370 million that it could have earned for its role.

Cancelled tender

The Global Fund, which was the source of the money, has now cancelled Kemsa’s flawed tender. Kemsa had awarded the tender to a bidder, who did not meet the mandatory requirements and also snubbed the mosquito nets manufacturer.

This is bad news for the agency, which has yet to recover from the Covid-19 procurement mess that benefited a few people. The Global Fund wants action taken against the officials who bungled the new deal, leaving millions of households exposed to malaria.

Having to deal with this new scandal before the first one is investigated and concluded is quite disappointing. Kenyans need to know what actually transpired in both cases and long to see the culprits hauled to court and the loot eventually recovered.