Kemsa seeks Covid kits despite ongoing investigation

Economy

Kemsa seeks Covid kits despite ongoing investigation


The offices of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority in the industrial area of ​​Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) is seeking to procure more Covid-19 health commodities despite an unresolved investigation into the irregular purchase of Sh7.8 billion coronavirus kits.
  • The state agency, which is being restructured due to a lack of financial controls, unsold stock and the purchase of non-priority items, has asked suppliers to bid for the supply of Covid-19 health products.

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) is seeking to procure more Covid-19 health commodities despite an unresolved investigation into the irregular purchase of Sh7.8 billion coronavirus kits.

The state agency, which is being restructured due to a lack of financial controls, unsold stock and the purchase of non-priority items, has asked suppliers to bid for the supply of Covid-19 health products.

“The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority, on behalf of the Government of Kenya, Ministry of Health, is issuing a sealed tender…for the supply of Covid-19 III health commodities, the Kemsa said in a notice to suppliers on Friday. .

Suppliers have been invited to submit bids for the GF ATM COVID-19 RESPONSE-2021/22-OIT-01 tender no later than February 10, 2022. The tender closes at 10 a.m.

The agency is inviting tenders under the Global Fund category for the supply of unidentified Covid-19 goods.

Kemsa has launched a separate tender for the purchase of oxygen cylinders and bulk liquid oxygen for the treatment of patients under funding from the French Development Agency (AFD).

Kemsa’s purchase of new Covid-19 kits is likely to raise eyebrows among Kenyans following the procurement debacle that saw Kemsa buy protective equipment at inflated prices when the first coronavirus case was reported in March 2020.

Kemsa bought the Covid-19 emergency equipment for 6.3 billion shillings in a deal that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) flagged as irregular and recommended charges against some officials.

A special audit by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu showed that Kemsa could realize a loss of 2.33 billion shillings if the products, which were stuck in its warehouses, were sold at the current market price.

The forensic audit found that Kemsa management under suspended chief executive Jonah Manjari rejected supplier rebates of Covid-19-related items.

The audit found that Kemsa officials opted to pay Sh4,500 for a pack of 50 face masks, well above the Sh3,183 quoted by suppliers – a variation equivalent to 41.37%.

Paracetamol tablets sold at 40 shillings a pack were purchased for 66.50 shillings during the pandemic, while alcohol-based hand sanitizer priced at 313 shillings was purchased for 495 shillings, according to the report.

The auditor general said that apart from inflated prices, Kemsa had not carried out a full assessment of the needs of Covid-19 procurement.

Dr Manjari remains suspended alongside directors Eliud Muriithi (Commercial) and Charles Juma (Procurement) as investigations continue into the Covid-19 procurement saga.

The National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee (PIC), which commissioned the forensic audit, wants the 110 companies that supplied Kemsa at inflated prices to reimburse the government for the overpayments.

Dozens of civil servants and businessmen have appeared in court in recent months on charges of allegedly stealing hundreds of millions of shillings from public coffers.

As a result of these cases, the state either froze or seized hundreds of millions of shillings from bank accounts and confiscated assets such as houses, land and luxury cars from the suspects.

The PIC chaired by MP for Mvita Abdulswamad Nassir recommended that the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) locate and seize bank accounts and assets such as cars, houses and land that were purchased with the proceeds of the irregular purchase of Covid-19 emergency equipment by Kemsa.

The parliamentary committee also wants Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General Githii Mburu to launch inquiries into all vendors who have delivered Covid-19 material to Kemsa to establish whether they have declared and paid taxes. to authority.

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