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Blame game in Sh3.7b mosquito nets tender

 Kemsa CEO Andrew Mulwa and Dr Ahmeddin Omar. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) scandal has taken a new twist after the Malaria Programme Coordinator distanced himself from a memo he is alleged to have authored.

It had been claimed that he authored a memo that guided the sacked PS Josephine Mburu to write a letter to alter specifications of the long-lasting mosquito nets.

Dr Ahmeddin Omar maintained that during his tenure at the malaria programme, he neither had any communication with Mburu nor met her.

Omar said he only communicated with Dr Andrew Mulwa, who was his immediate supervisor, concerning changes in specifications.

"The memo was copied to Mulwa. I never communicated with the PS. I am surprised how the PS got it," Dr Omar told the Senate Health Committee probing the Sh3.7 billion mosquito nets deal.

Omar dismissed claims by Mulwa before the committee that he bypassed him when he wrote a memo to the PS.

Appearing before the Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago-led health committee yesterday, Omar questioned why Mulwa claimed that he never got any of his communication.

According to Omar after informing Mulwa about the missing specifications, Mulwa advised him to include the missing specifications through a memo, and report back to him.

Omar said in October 2022, he submitted a request memo for procurement of 12, 616, 883 LLINs to Mulwa for his onward submission.

The memo contained details of all beneficiary counties and the number of LLNs planned for distribution in the counties.

Also attached was the approved procurement plan and LLINs specifications, which Kenya has used since 2016.

In February, he said Kemsa advertised for LLINs procurement, only for him to learnt that the specifications in the advertisement were missing one-line item compared to specifications which had been submitted.

The specifications, he said, was to include PBO in the tender process.

Omar was put to task by nominated Senator Esther Okenyuri as to why he wanted PBO to be included yet Global Fund was specific that it was not a requirement in the procurement.

"There are two types (of specifications), namely pyrethroid and PBO-impregnated nets. In our specifications, it is either pyrethroid or PBO," Omar said.

Omar explained that said PBO is of high quality, though it is expensive compared to that requested by the donor.

As the committee held its third sitting on Monday, June 26, the Sh3.7 billion tender, blame games played out before the senators.

Missing specification

Mulwa in his response he poked holes into the evidence tabled by Omar.

Mulwa said he should not be blamed for the alteration of the specifications as Omar never at any point gave him feedback on the memo that he was to write after he spotted the missing specification of the PBO.

Mulwa who maintained his innocence confirmed to the committee that indeed Omar approached him on missing specifications, adding that he also saw the specification of mosquito nets changed through the communication from the PS to Kemsa management.

"Yes, he came to me and shared what Kemsa had advertised. But this memo did not pass through my office. I could not give feedback to Omar on a communication which I had not seen. I advised him to write, and as I was waiting, I saw a newspaper advert on the extension.

I did not know Omar had reached the PS, and the PS had reached Kemsa," said Mulwa.

"The memo was never signed by me. It never passed my office for some reason..."

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