Details have emerged that the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) submitted an unqualified bidder to Global Fund, leading to cancellation of the multi-billion-shilling donor-funded tender.
Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Director General Patrick Kanyungo said none of the 17 bidders shortlisted at the preliminary stage qualified for the Sh3.7 billion tender.
Appearing before the Senate Health Committee, Mr Kanyugo said the bidders did not meet the pagination requirement.
He was hard-pressed by Narok Senator Ledama Olekina to give his opinion on who could have won the tender.
“Based on our process, none,” said Kanyungo.
Despite none of the bidders meeting the pagination qualifications, Kemsa still ended up awarding the Sh3.7 billion tender to Partec East Africa Limited. Submission of the bidder is reported to have been against procurement requirement, which led to cancellation of the tender to an international supplier - Wambo.org.
Initially, Kemsa shortlisted 17 bidders for the tender, out of which, only five qualified for the tender at the preliminary evaluation and technical stages.
- KEMSA reveal a new face of their medical facility
- Global Fund procured mosquito nets directly from manufacturers, Kemsa maintains
- Kemsa defends Sh3.7 billion mosquito nets deal amid irregularities claim
- Two top government officials linked to Sh3.7b mosquito net tender scandal
“Kemsa included pagination as evaluation criteria. This is where there is a mistake by many procurement entities,” Kanyungo told the committee.
He added: “It (pagination) was included in the tender as an evaluation criterion. But why was it included? It was to deal with a vice of missing pages. Who complained that his tender process had a page plucked? Is it a bidder?”
He said the findings by PPRS were that the pagination created a problem in the entire tendering process.
The Senator Jackson Mandago-led committee tasked Kanyugo to make them understand how important pagination is when it comes to the tendering process.
In response, Kanyugo said pagination is a law set under procurement to help deal with vices. "We are where we are because we did things wrong.
“Does it (pagination) affect the substance of the tender? The pagination was to deal with security matters. There is therefore need for conversation,” he said.
PPRS evaluated both audit reports issued by Kemsa and Global Fund, in regard to the tendering process where it emerged that the issue concerning pagination might have made the country lose the tender. After tender documents were prepared, Kanyugo said, the Global Fund observed that Kemsa was to review the table of contents, continuous pagination of tender document and consistence of correct referencing of sections.
Kemsa was also expected to ensure revised total quantities were presented correctly through the tender document. But Kemsa failed to correct the errors that were raised by the donor.
“Document submitted by Kemsa had different quantities on page,” said Kanyungo.
The findings by PPRS were revealed even after the suspended Kemsa CEO Terry Ramadhani maintained that she was not aware of what might have led to cancellation of the tender. Appearing before the committee on Tuesday, Ms Ramadhani said reasons provided by the donor on cancellation of the tender "did not hold water".
The committee also sought Kanyugo’s professional opinion as to whether the decision for cancellation of the tender was conducted hurriedly by the Global Fund.
“Yes, cancellation can be done, if with reasons. We expect a response from Kemsa on the process resulting into procurement process,” he said.
As to whether the request by Kemsa to extend the tender process, to correct the errors that were raised by former Health PS Josephine Mburu could have delayed the supply and distribution of the long-lasting mosquito nets, Kanyugo explained that the procurement process in Kenya takes about 57 days.
He acknowledged that re-advertisement of the tendering process could have delayed the process. Kanyugo added that according to procurement law, the donor is at liberty to use own procurement processes and procedure.