Senate to probe five international firms in the MES saga

Senate Health Committee led by Chairman Michael Mbito, his Vice Ali Abdillahi and Naomi Shiyanga addressing the media at Parliament. [Boniface Okendo/Standard]
Senators will next month probe five international firms contracted by the Government to supply multi-billion shilling medical equipment to county hospitals.

Senate Health Committee Chairman Michael Mbito (Trans Nzoia) said the Sh63 billion Medical Equipment Service (MES) programme was a very complicated project based on the concerns raised, shady documents provided by Ministry of Health and the actual situation in county hospitals.

He said Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki tabled some scanned documents for the five international companies, which they would scritinise.

“In January, we are going to invite the contractors to establish if they have honoured the contracts and whether there is value for money. The ministry sourced different machines from these companies and it would only be fair we hear their side of the story,” said Dr Mbito.

The Senate Health Committee will quiz officials of Megascope Healthcare Kenya Limited and Neusoft Medical Systems Company over Sh7 billion deal for ICT suppliers to 37 counties.

Other contracts to face audit include Sh47 billion won by Shenzen Mindray Bio-Electronics Company of China dealing with theater equipment supplied to 96 hospitals, Sh9 billion deal by Esteem Industries of India for supply of surgical instruments to 96 hospitals.

Others include Bello SRL of Italy dealing with renal and dialysis machines that was awarded a Sh 2.4 billion contract to supply the machines to 47 counties and two national referrals hospitals.

Philips Medical Systems of Netherlands secured a Sh3.7 billion deal to supply ICU equipment to 11 hospitals.

General Electric (GE) of US won a Sh25.5 billion contract to supply radiology equipment to 98 hospitals.

The CS explained that the contract for laboratory and health ICT has not been completed. However, inside sources indicated some payments have been made to an undisclosed ICT firm before the deal is sealed.

The senators have opted to question contractors after the ministry failed to furnish the committee with the original contracts signed in 2015.

Mbito indicated in an interim report tabled in the Senate that the five companies were single sourced, equipment overpriced and paid for upfront in some counties.

"Each county has been charged Sh200 million this financial year up from Sh95 million. We want this sharp variation explained and a checklist of all machines supplied provided," said Mbito.

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Senate Health CommitteeMedical Equipment ServiceMES