Kemsa chiefs on the spot over Sh7.8bn Covid scandal


MPs have recommended the prosecution of former Senate Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura and the entire board of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) over the Sh7.8 billion scandal.

In a report tabled in the National Assembly Wednesday, the Public Investments Committee also wants top Kemsa directors prosecuted and suppliers who benefited from inflated payments forced to make refunds.

The committee wants the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate Mr Gitura, who was the chairman of the board, and the other board members for the role they played in the award of commitment letters to three companies for the supply of Covid-19 equipment.

Mr Gitura and one of the board members, Mr Joel Onsare, are singled out for influencing the award of the multimillion-shilling tenders to Wallabis Ventures Limited and Villa Surgical Suppliers and Equipment Limited.


“The EACC should investigate the alleged interference of Senator Kembi Gitura and Joel Onsare, the then Kemsa board members, with a view of preferring charges against them for violating the Public Officers and Ethics Act,” reads the report.

The committee, chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, also said suppliers who benefited from inflated prices of face masks should be forced to refund excess payment within one month.

Also recommended for prosecution are suspended CEO Jonah Manjari, director of finance and strategy Waiganjo Karanja, head of legal department Ferdinand Wanyonyi and suspended director of procurement Charles Juma.

MPs accuse Mr Manjari of ignoring the advice of the director of procurement that further purchase of Covid-19 material should be suspended as there was no budget.

According to the report, Mr Manjari should also be prosecuted upon investigations by EACC for procuring covid-19 materials without conducting a market survey or preparing a procurement plan and budgets.


No due diligence

The committee also wants the former CEO prosecuted for failing to conduct due diligence on the suppliers prior to issuance of commitment letters considering that some were not pre-qualified by Kemsa.

According to the report, Mr Juma faces prosecution for drafting commitment letters while aware that there was neither a procurement plan nor a market survey and budget. He has also been accused of allowing receipt of goods that had not passed through quality assurance.

MPs want Mr Karanja investigated for abdicating his duty as the head of finance.

They also want Mr Wanyonyi investigated to establish whether he discharged his duty as a legal advisor to the CEO.

The committee wants a multi-agency team comprising of representatives from the Auditor General, Office of the Attorney General, Public Procurement Regulatory Authority and Treasury to look into the procurement process of KN95 face masks and surgical masks between March and July 2020.

Refund excess payment

“All suppliers that may have supplied Kemsa at a price higher than the recommended price should refund the government the excess payment within a month of such price determination,” reads the report.

MPs also want the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to investigate all suppliers to establish if they had paid the necessary taxes as required by law.

“In the event that there were those that failed to declare and pay taxes, KRA should commence appropriate legal action against them,” says the report.

“I believe we have done justice to the country through the report. We have attached everything in our report so that the public doesn’t say that certain firms were favoured,” Mr Nassir yesterday told the Nation. BY DAILY NATION

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