What you need to know:
- The committee said Mr Gitura was aware of the problems at the agency but did nothing to address them, citing a letter he wrote to Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, complaining that the management had spent funds meant for the Universal Health Care (UHC) programme to buy PPEs.
- The report accuses Mr Manjari of having run a one-man show at the agency and taking advantage of the weak oversight.
Senators have trained their sights on the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) board as investigations into the multibillion-shilling Covid-19 scandal gather pace.
The taxpayer lost money in irregular procurement of personal protective equipment (PPEs) in bizarre deals that shocked the nation.
Sh7.6 billion loss
The House Committee of the Senate has now accused the Kemsa board chaired by Mr Kembi Gitura of incompetence, leading to the loss of nearly Sh7.6 billion.
In a report tabled in the house by Kisumu’s Fred Outa on Tuesday, senators said the board failed to exercise effective oversight over suspended Kemsa CEO Jonah Manjari and the management.
“Mr Gitura and the board of directors ought to have known about the violation of procurement processes that had been carried out by the CEO and the board of management,” states the report.
The committee said Mr Gitura was aware of the problems at the agency but did nothing to address them, citing a letter he wrote to Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, complaining that the management had spent funds meant for the Universal Health Care (UHC) programme to buy PPEs.
“By failing to take the necessary administrative action against the CEO and the board of management, Mr Gitura and the board failed (in their oversight role),” states the report. It wants the State Corporation Advisory Committee to undertake an audit into the conduct of the board and the management and advise the President and the CS actions to take to avoid a repeat.
Senators have also asked the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to investigate Mr Manjari and the board of management for violation of procurement laws.
Other Kemsa directors set for investigations are Mr Charles E. Juma (procurement), Mr Eliud Mureithi (commercial services), Mr Fredrick Wanyonyi (legal services), Mr Edward Njoroge Njuguna (operations,) and Mr Waiganjo Karanja (finance and strategy).
The report accuses Mr Manjari of having run a one-man show at the agency, claiming he took advantage of the weak oversight by the board “to make nonsense of all procurement laws”, leading to loss of taxpayers’ money amounting to Sh2 billion. He allegedly ignored the ministry, bypassed the board and ignored his juniors’ advice.
“The CEO took advantage of the disconnect and lack of an effective mechanism (between the board and Kemsa headquarters) to undertake procurement of Covid-19-related items without an existing budget and beyond the Kemsa capital budget,” states the report.
“Kemsa is a critical component in the health sector. The CS and the principal secretary need to ensure there is in place an effective reporting and feedback mechanism between Afya House and Kemsa.”
The report details the CEO’s lack of timely financial reporting with respect to the procurement of Covid-19-related supplies.
Dish out tenders
“The fact that the ministry and the board were only engaged after the irregularities had taken place meant that any measures taken were only reactive as opposed to preventive or pro-active resolutions. This put the realisation of the objectives of Kemsa and its programmes into jeopardy,” states the report.
The report also alleges that the CEO could have colluded with some private companies to dish out tenders without due diligence.
“The committee recommends that the ODPP and DCI investigate the CEO and the board of management for contravening the law,” states the report.