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EACC seeks information on conflict of interest, new Sh3 billion Kemsa store

By Cyrus Ombati | June 21st 2020

The anti-graft agency has opened investigations into claims of corruption at the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa).

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) wants Kemsa CEO John Mwangi to furnish it with original conflict of interest register maintained by the agency since January 2018.

It is claimed that some top staff at the agency have been doing business with the firm.

The agency has until Tuesday to submit the document among others to EACC investigators.

Commission officials revealed they had received complaints that some staff were colluding with suppliers to loot public funds and that the organisation was technically insolvent out of mismanagement.

The EACC is also investigating claims of corruption in the construction of a Sh3.2 billion warehouse.

The commission wants Mwangi to supply them with 15 sets of documents that are key to the probe. This follows complaints the construction of the warehouse had been marred with corruption.

Anti-graft agency boss Twalib Mbarak wrote to Mwangi on June 18, seeking to have tender advertising notices, bank tender documents, all bids submitted by the bidders, tender opening minutes, list of bidders and individual tender evaluation score sheet.

The commission also wants due diligence report, professional opinion, tender award notifications and acceptance letter from the winning bidders, contract agreements, inspection and acceptance certificates, payment vouchers and appointment letters to committees.

Twalib said they had launched investigations into the project following claims of irregularities.

“This commission is conducting investigations into allegations of procurement irregularities at Kemsa in relation to tender KEMSA/CONST/OIT4/2019/20. To facilitate our investigations, kindly furnish us with the original documents relating to the above tender,” said part of the letter to Kemsa boss.

The letter added the commission wants original conflict of interest register maintained by Kemsa since January 2018.

Kemsa has an annual budget of about Sh30 billion.

Insiders informed the Sunday Standard that the investigators are probing claims of existence of a syndicate at the agency of alleged corrupt individuals engaging in intricate fraudulent schemes, where they actively solicit for bribes/kickbacks from suppliers contracted to supply medical commodities to the authority.

“Prior to being awarded contracts, suppliers are asked to secure Kemsa officials ‘interests’ once favoured with the contracts,” disclosed an investigator.

The commission is also investigating claims of exaggeration of price of items in the Local Purchase Order for most products.

For instance, the Mission for Essential Drugs supplied some products at a unit price of Sh298 yet the contract has an agreed price of Sh207 per unit.

The EACC is pursuing claims that direct procurement is used to award contracts to friendly suppliers, who are willing to part with bribes/kickbacks.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has created opportunities for Kemsa officials to engage in corruption,” said an officer.

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