Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) employees who have been working from home for the past 19 months have been recalled.
Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha issued the directive to guarantee provision of quality healthcare.
“This institution (Kemsa) has undergone very many issues, and one of them is related to the staff. I hereby direct the CEO, effective tomorrow morning, that all staff working from home report to the office,” Ms Nakhumicha said.
More than 200 employees of the medical supplies agency have been working from home.
Suspended Chief Executive Officer Terry Ramadhani had defied an April 13 directive by the Ministry of Health to recall the employees.
Ms Nakhumicha further asked the new chair of the board Irungu Nyakera to ensure that each employee understands their roles as they report back.
The CS gave the directive yesterday during the inauguration of the new Kemsa board of directors at the headquarters in Embakasi.
Nakhumicha said it was a big concern to have employees receive hefty pay, yet they do not deliver services.
“It does not make sense. It is irresponsible to have paid over 200 people for two years, and have them sit at home, in the name of Covid-19, yet we all go to offices nowadays,” said the CS.
An insider told The Standard in confidence that despite having been directed to work from home, the employees were not able to work because their work emails had been deactivated.
Additionally, the employees were not able to access a virtual private network, an online platform that allows someone to work remotely.
“Each month, the employees working from home receive about Sh45 million, yet they do not deliver any work because they were locked out of the system,” said an insider.
Among those who were sent to work from home were current bank signatories, drivers, clerks, cleaners and cooks, following the misappropriation of Sh7.8 billion Covid-19 funds.
The employees were sent home in what was refereed to as restructuring at the authority, which has reported multiple scandals.
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Currently, the establishment has a total of 780 staff, including those working from home, according to the current chair, Nyakera.
In an interview with The Standard, Nyakera said the employees working from home, including consultants, will report back as per the directive of the CS.
“We want to re-organise staff, so that everybody is comfortable at their place, and then we handle all their issues after that,” said Nyakera.
The chair said the board will determine on whether the caretaker team will stay at the authority, or go back to their parent ministries.
He maintained that human resource is critical for full functioning of the authority.
But he regretted that despite the authority being the biggest warehouse of medicine in Kenya, it is deemed inefficient.
“The most important role to handle is the internal things ailing Kemsa. Kemsa is a great organisation which was doing well before Covid-19, but currently has attracted low public trust, with many internal issues. We want to solve internal issues, which involve people,” said Nyakera.
Nakhumicha maintained she was dedicated to fight graft at the authority, saying she believed in the newly appointed board, and the acting CEO Dr Andrew Mulwa.
“I have completed the inauguration of the board, and given them, full mandate to drive this institution, to where it is supposed to be within the constitution of the country.
Ramadhani was suspended alongside with chair, Kemsa board chairperson Daniel Rono over Sh3.7 billion mosquito nets tender.
The CS said the leadership is expected to ensure Kenyans access quality healthcare in line with Kenya Kwanza’s health manifesto of ensuring each Kenyan receive quality and affordable services.
The team, she added, should also ensure health facilities across the country are adequately and optimally stocked with essential products.
“I am sure we have the right team, to assist the president achieve his mandate, but most importantly is to ensure Kenyans access health commodities, as and when they need to, at the most affordable price.
But she regretted that we have individual culprits who taint the image of the institution.
“I will not stop at anything, even if it means sending home an entire department, I am ready to deal with it.
“This institution must be clean. We are going to uproot all the roots, all the evil spirits that have been planted in this institution- nitazing’oa ( I will uproot them),” said Nakhumicha.
To employees at the board she said: “Should you see, should you smell, something that looks like corruption, please come and let me know. Whoever it is. I may not have any other muscle, but I will name and shame anyone who is brought to my attention.”
Concerning multiple scandals at the authority, she said various government agencies are conducting investigations for action.
Among the scandals are irregularities in the tendering process of mosquito nets valued at Sh3.7 billion, and Sh7.8 billion Covid-19 funds.
She asked the agencies to speed up investigations. “Once we have feedback from them, we shall put a closure to this matter.”