Suppliers to Kenya Prisons yesterday took to the streets to demand the payment of Sh6.2 billion owed to them.
“I have been feeding prisoners, while my children are starving,” said Hellen Anyango, one of the 2,900 suppliers who made their frustrations known outside the Kenya Prisons headquarters in Nairobi.
The suppliers drawn from all over the country said they are still waiting for their pay even after successfully undergoing a verification process in May to establish the validity of their claims.
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“In May we were asked to go for a verification process to establish if we are genuine suppliers, all of us were verified, and we were promised we’d get our money before the end of June, but we have received nothing,” said Ruth Michoma, another supplier.
This is not the first time that suppliers and the correction services department are at loggerheads over delayed payments.
In 2018, the Kenya Prisons was rocked by a Sh4.8b classified tenders supply scandal, which forced the Principal Secretary in the State Department of Correctional Services Zeinab Hussein (ordered the suspension of payment of all pending bills and cancelled award notifications to suppliers.
The department then embarked on a verification process guided by the Pending Bills Multi-agency Team to verify outstanding bills that date back to 2008.
Earlier this month, Ms Hussein issued a press statement noting that the payment process had already started and called for patience from the suppliers.
“The payment is exercise is currently ongoing and is based on regions according to the verification exercise. We appeal to the suppliers to exercise patience as we proceed with the process of payment,“ said Hussein.