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Former Health PS Tum defends role in Sh3.7b mosquito net scandal

Health & Science

From right: Acting KEMSA Chief Executive Officer DR Andrew Mulwa, immediate former Health PS Peter Tum, appearing before Senate Health Committee. [Gloria Milimu, Standard]

Former Health PS Peter Tum has defended his role in the Sh3.7b mosquito net tender, saying disorganisation and protocol ignorance led to tender irregularities in the Ministry.

Tum, who was the Principal Secretary in charge of Medical Services was moved to the Sports docket, while his colleague Josephine Mburu was sacked following the scandal.

While appearing before the Senate Committee on Health on Tuesday, July 4, Mr Tum said at the time of awarding the tender, malaria was under the State Department of Public Health, which was headed by Mburu.

"Executive Order No.1 of 2023 dated January 6, 2023, explicitly assigned the Malaria and TB functions to the State Department of Public Health and Professional Standards and while the HIV function was assigned to the State Department of Medical Services. The State Department of Medical Services was not responsible for the LLINS procurement as this was a mandate of the State Department of Public Health and Professional Standards under the Malaria function," Tum's claimed.

"Therefore, the planning, technical support, and procurement of the LLlNs were entirely coordinated by the State Department of Public Health and Professional Standards in accordance with Executive Order No. I of 2023."

When asked by the committee's chairman and Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago, "Is it still correct to say that officers within your then department were not involved?"

Tum responded: "Malaria was under another state department. My department was then not responsible for the malaria programme. It was under the Department of Public Health and professional standards."

According to Tum, the procurement funds were solely handled by the National Treasury and Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa). The Ministry of Health only provided technical support, he stated.

"The funds for the procurement of Global Fund commodities are held at the National Treasury and not at the Ministry of Health. Therefore, for purposes of procurement under the Global Fund Agreement, Kemsa is the appointed agent of the Principle Recipient(s) while the Ministry of Health provides technical support only," Tum said.

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