Speaking during an interview on Citizen TV, Kagwe acknowledged that there was desperation for PPEs worldwide, hence the discrepancy in prices.
“The irregularity was for KEMSA to try and get goods without knowledge by the Ministry of Health.
“The other questionable issue is the issue of budget of goods procured…KEMSA board needs to be consulted for all procurements above given budget,” he said.
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On the transparency of the tendering process, Kagwe noted that the tendering process at KEMSA is now online under Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) but more changes will still be done to seal all loopholes.
“There is an undergoing investigation and our hands are tied on what we can do…We must be patient before making changes,” he said.
A report by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu on the procurement scandal at KEMSA revealed that Sh2.3 billion was lost in procuring Covid-19 medical supplies.
Gathungu, who tabled the report before Senate in September, revealed how billions of shillings were unaccounted for and how there was no evidence of budgetary approval by relevant authorities.
The auditor-general concluded that KEMSA irregularly utilized the Universal Health Coverage and budget to procure Covid-19 related items worth Sh7.6b.
"The procurement process was not initiated based on need assessment and planning resulting in over-procurement of Covid-19 related stock worth Sh6.3b that is still being held at KEMSA warehouses. 97 per cent of the stock has been in the Kemsa warehouses for more than three months implying inadequate market forecasting and planning practices.
"The items were procured at a higher price as compared to the current market pricing implying that KEMSA may realize a loss of Sh2.3b if the products are to be sold at the current market price," she reported.
The report also showed KEMSA's 2019/2020 budget did not have any allocation for Covid-19 related procurements, contrary to a letter addressed to Kagwe dated August 15, 2020, that said, KEMSA had utilized the Universal Health Coverage Budget (UHC) to fund the Covid -19 procurements.
Kagwe was also put on the spot over the ongoing strike by doctors and nurses and what the government is doing to address their grievances.
While speaking on the number of healthcare workers who have died in the line of duty, some having gone months without pay, the CS urged unions not to create emotion out of a situation they do not know about.
“It is unfortunate that we have lost healthcare workers…It is not good for unions to create emotion out of a situation they do not know about.
“I feel for the family (of Dr Mogusu)…when I see the complaints I understand but I can also separate genuine mourning from the issue of using the young man’s death for political purposes,” he remarked.