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MPs link Murathe to supplies firm that bagged Sh4b Kemsa deal

By Brian Otieno | Apr 23rd 2021 | 3 min read

Lawmakers have accused Jubilee vice chairperson David Murathe of influencing a Sh4 billion tender to a medical supplies firm.

The National Assembly Public Investments Committee (PIC) investigating the Sh7.8 billion Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) scandal, questioned Murathe’s association with Kilig Limited.

This was after a former director of the company yesterday testified that Murathe was approached to guarantee a loan. The Jubilee Party vice chairman was to appear before the committee alongside two other persons.

Others were Willbroad Gatei, a former director of Kilig Limited, and Chen Chao, the director of Entec Technology Company, which was to supply the firm with personal protective equipment (PPE). None of them showed up, choosing to instead send written submissions.

In a written submission tabled before the Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir-led PIC, Chao said he approached Murathe after his company failed to seal a financing deal with Kilig Limited.

“I knew that David Murathe and Willbroad Gatei know each other and that Murathe is a respectable high-standing member of society,” read Chao’s submission.

“In order to further safeguard and guarantee Entec’s receivables under the supply contract and protect Entec’s investment, I requested David Murathe to be a guarantor for this transaction,” he said.

The revelations made the committee to suspect that Murathe influenced the deal.  “It would seem that Murathe was brought in to guarantee and influence the process… he was brought in to ensure everything was paid,” said Ruaraka MP TJ Kajwang'.

“Kenyans have been asking for the big fish, it is very clear who they are,” added Kajwang’.

“The Sh4 billion tender was choreographed by an influential person in the name of David Murathe,” said Wajir East MP Rashid Kassim.

In December last year, Ivy Onyango, a proprietor of Kilig Limited, declined to name the directors, saying the matter fell under attorney-client privilege.

Last month, Ms Onyango claimed she could not recall details of the company’s bank accounts and its signatories. In his written testimony, Murathe had denied being a shareholder in the company, saying that he only stood in as a guarantor so that the firm would secure a loan.

Jubilee vice chairperson David Murathe [Courtesy]

He stated that he knew directors of both companies involved in the deal, saying that he ceased being a signatory of Kilig Limited after a commitment letter awarding it the tender to supply 450,000 PPEs was cancelled.

“I am aware that the commitment letter by KEMSA to Kilig was cancelled citing limited budget for Covid-19 which had been exhausted thereby resulting in no delivery, invoicing nor payment for me to guarantee because there was no initiation of a procurement process after the cancellation of the procurement letter,” testified Murathe.

The commitment letter had been cancelled following queries on its legality. Suspended Kemsa Finance Director Charles Juma had, in a previous sitting, claimed that he flagged the Sh4 billion deal.

Murathe was listed as a mandatory signatory on Kilig’s Equity Bank account after he agreed to stand in as a guarantor.

MPs also took issue with remarks that Murathe made on a vernacular TV that he would “teach the MPs a lesson” when he honours the summons.

“That is the highest level of arrogance,” said Kassim.

Murathe is expected to appear before PIC on Thursday next week, as the committee finalises its public hearings.

In September last year, the Jubilee vice-chair was summoned by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission over his links to the company, which he dismissed.

Kilig Limited was formed in January last year by co-directors Gatei and Zhu Jinping. The two resigned and transferred their shares to Collins Bush Wanjala, who later handed them to Ivy Minyow Onyango in May.

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