Sacked Principal Secretary Josephine Mburu and Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) boss Terry Ramadhani tampered with the Global Fund’s specifications for the tendering of long-lasting bed nets, documents from the organisation show.
According to the documents, the two officials, who were among the eight sacked by President William Ruto on Monday, hijacked the process and did not follow the fund’s guidelines.
On January 31, Kemsa announced a tender with a deadline of February 23, but this was extended by 14 days following a directive from Dr Mburu to Ms Ramadhani. Dr Mburu indicated that the tender advertisement was missing some specifications when compared to the original specification shared by the Ministry of Health’s National Malaria Programme Department.
“The specification, insecticide impregnation on technology, lacks the requirement for synergist piperonyl butoxide (PBO) LLINs combination nets, which is inconsistent with the specifications that were shared by MOH-DNMP,” she wrote. Ms Ramadhani extended the tender to allow room for clarification and modification of the tender.
An insider told the Nation that the extension of the tender was to meet the specifications of some of the well-connected people who had an interest.
According to a letter from Global Fund Coordinator Simon Kibia to Ms Ramadhani dated February 24 , the long-lasting insecticidal nets procured by the Global Fund are pyrethroid LLINs, therefore, the requirement for the PBO should not have been part of the technical specifications.
“The requirement for PBO LLNI has been removed as the LLNI to be procured are pyrethroid LLNI. Before the tender was issued, the document was submitted to GF for review. Feedback was shared. The purpose of this letter is to request that you proceed with the procurement as certified by the Global Fund,” Mr Kibia wrote a day after the extension. But Kemsa did not follow the Global Fund’s instructions.
The insider, responding to allegations on social media that the President sacked the wrong PS given that Kemsa was under PS Peter Tum, said Dr Mburu was responsible for the whole mess.
This assertion was backed by Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha, who said procurement falls under Dr Mburu’s purview.
“There is no way that Dr Mburu could not have been involved in the whole issue because she oversees the procurement of the products and signs for them,” she said.
What is not clear, however, is why the entire Kemsa board was sent home and yet the procurement process and tender took place when they had not taken up their posts. They were appointed in March 2023.
Internal documents seen by the Nation indicate that the only company that met all the requirements, China’s Tianjin Yorkool, was unfairly excluded from the tender evaluation.
The documents further show that Ms Ramadhani appointed four people—Martin Wamwea, Lenson Kariuki, Anthony Chege and Cosmas Rotich—to the tender evaluation committee.