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DPP narrows on 6 Kemsa managers in Covid scam

By Anthony Mwangi
Monday, September 21st, 2020
Embattled Kemsa CEO Jonah Manjari. Photo.PD/Samuel Kariuki
In summary
    • EACC is also investigating claims of corruption in the construction of Sh3.2 billion warehouse by Kemsa.
    • Investigations have zeroed in on the six mostly those in the finance department.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has zeroed in on six top managers at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) for prosecution in the Sh7.8 billion scandal.

Haji did not disclose the names of those likely to be charged in court when he confirmed receipt of the files from the Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission (EACC) but People Daily has since learnt that files for six top managers are ready and likely to be presented for prosecution in two weeks time.

Last Friday, Haji said EACC has completed investigations on the scandal at the authority involving Covid-19 expenditures.

He confirmed that he has received the investigations file from anti-graft agency.

“I have appointed a team of senior experienced prosecutors to undertake an independent and comprehensive review of the inquiry file and submit their findings to me,” Haji said in a statement.

Warehouse ready

The EACC is also investigating claims of corruption in the construction of Sh3.2 billion warehouse by Kemsa. 

Already suspended Chief Executive Officer Jonah Manjari has recorded a statement over graft related claims on the warehouse project.

A source told the People Daily that the investigations have zeroed in on the six mostly those in the finance department.

 Manjari, Director Procurement, Charles Juma and Director Commercial, Eliud Mureithi are some of the top managers who have recorded statements with the EACC.

Board chairman Kembi Gitura also had a date with the EACC detectives but it was not clear whether he recorded a statement on the matter under investigations or he was assisting in the investigations.

The board also has issues with donors over the appointment of acting director to replace Manjari.

While the donors who include the Global Fund wanted Director of Legal Affairs Frederick Wanyonyi to act as the CEO, the board appointed Operations Director Edward Njoroge Njuguna the acting CEO.

The board went on to suspend Wanyonyi over unexplained reasons but he moved to court and successfully had the suspension overturned.

Wanyonyi acted as the chief executive for one year before Manjari took over from him in 2018.  Others appointed were George Walukana (Acting Director Procurement) and Edward Buluma acting Director, Commercial.

Investigating agencies

Investigations were expedited following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive that the investigating agencies give a report on the matter within 21 days.

The probe centred on how tenders to supply Covid-19 kits worth billions were dished out to companies associated with politicians and influential business people without following due process or at inflated prices.

After the matter became public, the board under Gitura suspended three directors, Manjari, Juma and Mureithi Already, Manjari and top Procurement and Finance officials are on suspension over the matter.

Jubilee vice-chairperson David Murathe was also questioned over his involvement in one of the companies that benefited from the tenders under review.

 After the sitting with investigators Murathe told the media that he demanded that DP William Ruto also be questioned over alleged links to a company at the centre of the investigations in the Covid-19 tenders. “I asked the detectives to question all the people mentioned in the scandal, including Ruto,” Murathe said.

The Jubilee Party vice-chairman was questioned over his involvement with Kilig Ltd a company linked to the tenders under probe.

At registration, the company had 1,000 nominal shares, which left it a lot of headroom to bring on board other shareholders.

 A few months after registration the company was handpicked by Kemsa and handed a Sh4 billion tender to supply 450,000 personal protective equipment at Sh9,000 each. 

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