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MPs: Don't pay Kemsa Covid-19 suppliers

Health & Science

Health PS Susan Mochache when she appeared before the National Assembly Health Committee at Parliament on Monday, August 17, 2020, over the Covid-19 funds probe. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The National Assembly Health Committee wants payment for some Covid-19 items procured by Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) not to be effected since they were procured irregularly.

This is after the agency admitted that it procured items worth millions of shillings based on a directive from the Ministry of Health and signed by Health PS Susan Mochache.

Kemsa’s acting Procurement Officer Edward Buluma told the lawmakers the directive by the ministry was not procedural.

Interestingly, Kemsa is still holding stock of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) worth Sh6.2 billion in its warehouse and if sold at the current market price, the agency will only recoup Sh4 billion.

The medical supplies agency is also on the spot after it procured the N95 (1860) masks at Sh1,300 against the market price of Sh700 a piece.

The agency also procured the disposable three-ply surgical masks at Sh90 a piece against the current market price of Sh50.

PS directive

But in a twist, Kemsa Board distanced itself from any Covid-19 related items procurement irregularity, citing that the procured materials were as per the direction given by Mochache.

Kemsa Board Chairman Kembi Gitura told the Sabina Chege-led committee that the agency received a letter in April from Mochache with details on how to go about the procurement of all Covid-19 materials.

According to Gitura, the letter from the PS had instruction on what to procure, where and at what price, a move he admitted was not procedural.

In the latter dated April 15, 2020, and addressed to suspended Kemsa Chief Executive Officer Jonah Manjari, Mochache said the World Bank had identified and approved various items to be procured by Kemsa.

“This is to approve the procurement of goods worth Sh758,690,583 as outlined in the annex. Disregard all other requests made in relation to Covid-19 as they have been captured under this approval,” reads part of the letter from the PS.

Documents tabled before the committee indicate that companies such as Tikasan Holdings Co Ltd, KEMA Ltd and Medilab have already pocketed millions of shillings for the supply of PPEs.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has directed the Chege-led team and the Public Investment Committee to commence investigations into alleged misuse of Covid-19 funds.

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