Manjari blames Kemsa board

Thursday, November 26th, 2020 00:00 | By
Kemsa chief executive Jonah Manjari. Photo/PD/SAMWEL KARIUKI

Suspended Kenya Medical Suppliers Agency (Kemsa), Chief Executive Jonah Manjari sensationally claimed yesterday that some board members influenced the award of the Sh7.6 billion Covid-19 related tenders.

 Manjari said contrary to claims that the board members were not aware of what was going on at the institution, they were briefed on a day to day basis though no physical meetings were being held as due to the upsurge in coronavirus cases.

While appearing before the National Assembly’s Public Investment Committee (PIC) chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswammad Nassir, Manjari claimed that a board member, Joel Gesuka canvassed to have a company by the name Villa Rosa issued with commitment letters to supply Covid-19 related items.

The board chairman, Kembi Gitura on the other hand frequented the agency’s offices to see what the management was doing although he did not influence the award of the tenders.

“Contrary to what is being said out there, some of these board members used to come and request that some of the companies be issued with commitment letters,” he said.

“These people used to come to our offices and see what we are doing, we even have CCTV footage which can confirm this,” he added.

In a brief to the committee, Manjari also claimed that Gitura used to visit their offices, take tea, inspect the issuance of the commitment letters and in some occasions advised them against misuse of the Covid-19 funds on grounds that the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) would go after them.

Inspected issuance

“ The chairman used to come and take tea in our office when he paid a courtesy call and he could see people queuing to receive their commitment letters where he also cautioned us that all investigative bodies would come after us after Covid-19 is over and thus we use the funds well,” he said.

During yesterday’s meeting, Manjari also claimed that although the board did not advise and limit on what the institution should have bought, they authorised them to go ahead and prepare for the pandemic, which is what pushed them to procure so many Covid-19 related materials.

He said that during that time, Ministry of Health acting Director General Patrick Amoth also exerted pressure on them to prepare for the setting up of the 150-bed capacity Covid-19 isolation center at Mbagathi hospital.

“We used on regular occasions to update the board members using board papers between the months of March and July. We also did presentations to them and this is a clear indication they were involved,” he added.

“We did not have a target of what to buy but there was what MOH gave us and what the board informed us to do and this is what led to the parallel procurement,” he said.

When asked to explain why despite the management agreeing to cancel some of the commitment letters since only goods worth Sh129 million had been supplied against commitment letters of Sh5.4 billion, they still received more goods, he explained that some of the items were already on transit and thus could not be stopped.

 On why they gave new commitment letters, he said it was because Kemsa’s budget is not limited and thus they hoped they would do resource mobilisation to enable them get additional budget from MOH, cash transfers and internal funds.

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