I learned of my sacking through the media – Ex-PS Josephine Mburu
Josephine Mburu, the former Principal Secretary for State Department for Public Health and Professional Standards, says she learned of her last month's sacking through the media.
President William Ruto relieved Mburu of her duties on May 25, 2023, following complaints of alleged impropriety within the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) regarding a flawed procurement process that left the country on the verge of losing a Ksh3.7 billion worth of anti-Malaria nets from the Global Fund.
Appearing before the Senate's Health Committee probing the alleged scandal on Tuesday, Mburu revealed that media reports of her sacking came as a shocker.
"At first, I was shocked… when I was told I was sacked it caught me unaware. Everything that happened came as a shocker, everything that was said on the media came as a shocker," she told the senators.
Mburu distanced herself from the net scandal, saying she got into office after the procurement process had started.
She claimed that Principal Secretary Peter Tum, who has since been moved to the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Arts and Sports, was in charge of Medical Services during the botched multi-billion tender.
“I believe the staff advised me to the best of my ability, but I was not involved when the advert was put out, the head of malaria came in and told me there was an omission, the letter did not stop the process, it didn't interfere with any process, and because KEMSA is not under Josephine they did not come back to me,” she said.
Global Fund, a Switzerland-based organization that funds governments to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, is said to have cancelled KEMSA'S procurement process which seemed flawed in favour of a bidder who did not meet mandatory requirements, at the expense of an actual mosquito nets manufacturer.
The scandal saw the entire KEMSA board sent home in far-reaching changes that also saw the agency's CEO Terry Ramadhani suspended.
Announcing the changes, State House Chief of Staff Felix Koskei said the move was in line with the Kenya Kwanza administration's commitment to entrenching ethos of good governance within "our national life by promoting accountability and openness in the management of public affairs."