Global Fund was right on discrepancies in Sh3.7b nets tender, says Kemsa

Global Fund representative Francis Munu when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Health over alleged irregularities in the procurement of long-lasting insecticidal nets, by Kenya Medical Supplies Authority, at KICC in Nairobi on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) board has concurred with the Global Fund that there were discrepancies in the procurement of the Sh3.7 billion mosquito nets.

The board, on Wednesday, told senators that it agreed with the findings by PwC consultancy firm- the local representative of the Global Fund - that there were indeed inconsistencies in the evaluation of the multi-billion tender by suspended Kemsa CEO Terry Ramadhani, which led to its termination.

“As a board, we concur with the Global Fund findings in regards to the evaluation of the tender… We are however intent on using the weaknesses identified to strengthen our procurement structures,” said acting Kemsa Procurement Director John Kabuchi.

Kabuchi appeared before the senate committee led by Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago-  which is probing the botched mosquito net tender.

Others who appeared before the House team were Kemsa board chairman Irungu Nyakera, PwC partner and Global Fund representative Francis Muriu and Kemsa Chief Executive Andrew Mulwa. 

Global Fund had floated the multi-billion tender for the provision of 10.2 million nets to be distributed from November to July 2024 in a campaign to end malaria in the country. It however canceled the tender citing procurement irregularities.

Global Fund nullified the tender on grounds that it failed to meet the mandatory documentation requirement and offered it directly to its own procurement wing,

Muriu explained to the committee that a review of the tender procurement came to the same conclusion as Kemsa that 11 out of 17 firms did not meet the preliminary evaluation criteria.

Kemsa's Acting CEO Andrew Mulwa when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Health at KICC in Nairobi on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, over alleged irregularities in the procurement of long-lasting insecticidal nets. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

He also critiqued the eligibility of some of the five bidders that were advanced to the technical evaluation stage by the Evaluation Committee.

 “…only bidder number 3 Tianjin Yoorkool International Trading Company Limited (for polyester) and number 7 Premium Movers (for polyethene and polyester nets) should have been considered for the next stage of the technical evaluation…The tender evaluation committee assessed Bidder 3 (Tianjin Yorkool) as non-responsive among other things, for not including manufacturers authorization," he noted.

Muriu, referencing a report tabled before the committee, noted that bidder 1 (V.K. A Polymers Pvt. Limited), Bidder 2 (Shobikaa Impex Private Limited) and Bidder 8 (Partec East Africa Limited) should have been found non-responsive for similar reasons as those given for the non-responsiveness of bidder number 4 (Vestergaard Sarl).

The committee further heard that the Technical Evaluation Committee had accessed as responsive-bidder 2 (shobikaa Impex Private Limited) for polyethene nets and bidder 8 (Partec East Africa Limited for polyester nets failed to meet the mandatory documentation requirements in the preliminary phase and should have proceeded to technical evaluation, financial evaluation and post qualification phase.

Kemsa acting Chief Executive Mulwa said they have been engaging with the Global Fund Country team and they were working on addressing the shortcomings pointed out by the PwC audit report.

“We assure this committee that we will adhere to procurement procedures and Global Fund guidelines,” he said.