Ousted KEMSA officials questioned over Sh3.7bn mosquito nets scandal

Former KeMSA Board Chair Daniel Rono. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Ousted top officials at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) have been questioned by members of the Senate on the Sh3.7 billion mosquito nets scandal.

The appointment of KeMSA Board chairperson Daniel Rono was revoked, while the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Terry Ramadhani was suspended alongside some officials at the Ministry of Health.

In their submissions, the former Chair says the Board was not involved in the process while the ex-CEO says a letter from the Ministry of Health disrupted the whole process which had already begun.

The duo appeared before the Senate Health Committee chaired by Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago, on Tuesday, June 6, to respond to the allegations.

While making the submissions, Rono also distanced himself from the procurement process and pointed an accusatory finger at the CEO, Ramadhani.

He says that he got into the office when the process was ongoing, adding that the Board was not involved in the tendering process.

“I was technically green in the matter. I found the tendering process ongoing when I got into the office as the new chair of KeMSA. The board was not in control of the particular tender and we never sat to deliberate on the tender. The suspended CEO, Terry Ramadhani was the one in charge of the tendering process,” the committee heard. 

When questioned on the cancellation of the tender, Rono said he first heard of the tender when the Global Fund (the financier) extended the deal.

“I learnt of the cancellation of the tender while at an induction meeting in Naivasha. Issues of tender do not fall in my docket. When we first had a meeting with Global Fund on the tender results that's when l learnt of the official cancellation of the tender and they took us through why the tenderers were not responsive, especially on the two tenderers KEMSA had settled on. They said they were non-responsive. Yet KeMSA had declared them responsive,”

Non-responsive means the tenderers did not meet the criteria to be awarded the tender, Rono explained. 

Suspended KeMSA CEO Terry Ramadhani. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

On her part, suspended KEMSA Chief Executive Terry Ramadhani says the first time the tender was advertised in the local dailies was in January 2023 and closed on March 10, upon which it was then extended.

“We informed Treasury of our intention to extend the tendering process after errors were identified. Treasury responded to our request saying the nets being procured were supposed to be Pyrethroid and not PBO insecticide," she explained. 

She says the Ministry of Health had advised them to use the latter. However, she did not respond to the ministry’s communication by PS Josephine Mburu since it came two days after the end of the tender advertisement.

“The Ministry of Health said we use PBO instead of Pyrethroid as requested by Global Fund. MoH wrote saying POB was to be put, and not Pyrethroid. Global Fund said the Pyrethroid was what was required and that is what it had approved."

However, Ramadhani claimed there was no loss of public funds because there were no awards given.

Ramadhani was suspended together with other Ministry of Health staff including Martin Wamwea, Lenson Kariuki, Dr Pauline Duya, Livingstone Njuguna, Dr Charles Kariuki, Justus Kinoti, Cosmas Rotich, and Anthony Chege.

President William Ruto made the termination following complaints of corruption and mismanagement at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).