MPs in bid to unravel ‘dirty’ deals at Kemsa

Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) logo. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The investigation also involves companies that were awarded multimillion-shilling tenders for the supply of Covid-19 materials.

The National Assembly has launched investigations into suspected cases of procurement irregularities at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa).

The investigation to be undertaken by the House Committee on Health involves Sh3.2 billion construction of a modern warehouse and office block at Kemsa and Sh1.1 billion supply and installation of a racking system.

This comes days after the MPs approved Sh1.5 billion to Kemsa for the procurement of testing kits and face masks to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

The investigation also involves companies that were awarded multimillion-shilling tenders for the supply of Covid-19 materials.

Whereas close to 15 companies in the framework procurement at Kemsa have received tenders ranging from Sh250,000 to about Sh20 million,  Faram East Africa Ltd is handling supplies for Covid-19 estimated at over Sh183 million.

Other firms that have received tenders of considerable amounts from Kemsa are Revital Pharmacy (Sh10.9 million), Bio- Zeq Kenya Ltd (Sh16 million) and Becton Dickinson International.

On Tuesday, National Assembly Health Committee chairperson Sabina Chege told the House that she had requested the Ministry of Health to provide relevant documentation on the dealings at Kemsa.

“We have requested the ministry to furnish us if there is anything happening at Kemsa,” Ms Chege said.

Her comments came after Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa told the House that Kemsa has become the weakest link in the fight against Covid-19 due to rampant corruption at the state corporation.

“The Health Committee chairperson should tell us what is happening at Kemsa. The Sh1.5 billion that is heading to Kemsa is not small money. We are calling on the chief executive officer to pull up his socks,” Dr Wamalwa said.

Recently, Kemsa boss Jonah Mwangi, while appearing before a parliamentary committee, was at pains to explain why he was procuring the personal protective equipment at Sh9,000 yet the same went for much less in the market.

The questions by the lawmakers come just days after the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) launched investigations into the Sh1.1 billion supply and installation of the racking system.

Already, the commission has identified seven companies that are alleged to be involved in the procurement irregularities at Kemsa.

The companies are Beuka Enterprises, Crown Healthcare Limited, F&S Scientific, Gladwel Suppliers Limited, Kobian Kenya Limited, Phamart Limited and Value Diagnostics Limited.

In facilitating the investigations into the seven companies, EACC boss Twalib Mbarak in his letter dated June 18, 2020 to the Kemsa CEO wants to be furnished with all the original documents relating to the tenders and payments to these companies.

According to Mr Mbarak, the documents should include tender advertisement notices, blank tender documents, all the bids submitted by the bidders, the tender opening minutes and the list of bidders.

Others are the tender evaluation minutes, due diligence report, professional opinion, tender award notifications/ regrets, acceptance letter from the winning bidders, contract agreements, inspection and acceptance certificates and the payment vouchers.

Kemsa is also required to provide the appointment letters to the committees, the original conflict of interest register from its database from January 2018 to date plus any other documents of relevance to the matter.

“This commission is investigating allegations of procurement irregularities at Kemsa in relation to tender Kemsa/Const/OIT4/2019/20.

‘‘To facilitate our investigations, furnish us with the original documents relating to the above tender,” said the letter to Kemsa boss.

Reports by David Mwere, Angela Oketch and Nyambega Gisesa


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