Faith and prayers landed me Kemsa deal, woman says

Ms Eunice Cherono

Ms Eunice Cherono, the director of Leon Interior Deco and Design, when she appeared before the National Assembly Public Investments Committee on March 2, 2021.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

A woman Tuesday shocked a parliamentary committee investigating the Sh7.8 billion Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) scandal after she told MPs that God directed her to the agency to get a Sh42 million tender to supply personal protective equipment (PPE).

Ms Eunice Cherono, the director of Leon Interior Deco and Design told the National Assembly Public Investments Committee that she did not know any influential person in the government but owed her Kemsa deal to God.

“When you pray, you ask God to do something for you. It is God who directed me to Kemsa to make money,” Ms Cherono told the committee.

‘Prayers work’

Ms Cherono tried frantically to convince MPs that prayers work and that she is a living example.

She told the Abdulswamad Nassir chaired committee that, during the Covid-19 period, she was in financial distress and her business was not doing well, pushing her to think about how to make an extra coin in order to stay afloat.

“I was doing very badly as the economy at that time was also not doing well. I had to look for money. I can honestly tell this committee that I didn’t know anyone at Kemsa,” Ms Cherono said.

“I walked into Kemsa with faith since I’m a prayerful woman and with the circumstances at that time, I knew that there would be high demand for PPEs. I knew Kemsa was dealing with the procurement of the equipment,” Mr Cherono added.

Ms Cherono further told the committee that God had told her that there are tenders at Kemsa regarding the Covid-19 vaccine that landed into the country Tuesday.

Nursing background

She said that although her company deals with interior designs, her background as a nurse pushed her to supply PPEs.

She told the committee that when she went to Kemsa in April, she met other suppliers waiting at the reception, and a person whom she did not name came and asked them to raise their hands if they could supply face masks.

“After raising our hands, we were directed to take our samples to the Kemsa warehouse in Embakasi and then given the tender,” Ms Cherono said. She, however, could not explain how her letter of intent to supply to Kemsa was dated May 6, 2020 but the commitment letter issued by the agency is dated April 30.

“We want to believe you are a woman of God but the God we all believe in is a God of justice. This letter was clearly backdated to accommodate you,” Mr Nassir said.

“There is someone you are working for or has used you but that person has put you in trouble,” Mr Nassir added. Likoni MP Mishi Mboko said both Christians and Muslims believe in God but that does not give anyone a reason to disregard the law while doing business.

“This country is governed by the rule of law whether you believe in God or not. Let us separate the two,” Ms Mboko said.

Ms Cherono said her company had no capacity to supply and partnered with Mason Austin which gave her Sh30 million to enable Interior Deco to supply the PPE.

Ruaraka MP TJ Kajwang pointed out that Ms Cherono might have been used by other companies that had financial muscles to exploit the deep connections she had.

“A person has put in a cool Sh30 million in this business and you still consider yourself part of this deal. So between the two companies who had God and who had just mere papers?” Mr Kajwang’ posed.