Act decisively on MPs Kenya Medical Supplies Authority report

Friday, September 24th, 2021 00:00 | By
Kemsa headquarters in Nairobi. Photo/PD/Pile

MPs are categorical, Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) board and senior management should be investigated and prosecuted over the shambolic procurement of Covid-19 Personal Protective Equipment. 

The Parliamentary Investment Committee (PIC) is also firm that more than Sh3.9 billion be recovered from companies that entered into irregular deals in the name of emergency procurement.

Also, the firms should pay their fair share of taxes lest they face criminal proceedings.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called Covid-19 tenderpreneurs murderers as they sought to make a kill from the pandemic.

The same can be said of those who profited illegally from the supply of Procurement of Protective Equipment (PPE) materials locally.

The advent of Covid-19 saw money put into procurement of PPEs, masks and sanitisers.

As a result, the role was delegated to Kemsa which, it turns out, broke all rules to single source and influence tenders. 

Prices were inflated, tenders were issued to firms that have never supplied medical equipment and billions of shillings was lost in the process. 

Kemsa also did not carry out any form of due diligence with respect to the companies as required by law. 

The board was disbanded and members of senior management suspended awaiting the outcome of probes. The PIC report is one of these.

But going by past experience, the report may turn out to be all sound and fury. 

A pointer to the nature of expectation is the appointment of Kemsa board chair Kembi Gitura to the Communication Authority of Kenya. The move happened at the height of the scandal.

It now turns out Gitura and a member- Joel Onsare, have been fingered for the award of commitment letters to several companies in contravention of the Public Officers and Ethics Act.

This flies in the face of the explanation given that the management did the procurement and the board was only advisory in its role. 

Since the pandemic broke out, 247,675 Kenyans have contracted the disease and, sadly, 5,045 have lost their lives as a result of infection.

It’s logical to conclude that some of the infections and deaths may have been avoided had Kemsa played its part diligently. 

We, therefore, call for all arms of government to ensure the culprits are brought to book.

The tedious work the MPs have done should not go to waste. The punishment should serve as an example that those who steal public funds with impunity cannot escape the law.

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