A tender notice to procure more Covid-19 health products by the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) is raising concerns due to the previous scandal involving procurements related to the global pandemic.
The National medical supplies agency ran into headwinds at the start of the pandemic in Kenya over irregularities during purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) worth Ksh.8 billion, which saw the agency procure materials at inflated prices when Covid 19 first hit the country in March 2020.
The State agency, which is undergoing restructuring after the scandal is procuring the items under different tenders, one through the Global Fund and another through financing from Agence Francaise De Development (AFD).
When the 2020 scandal came out, the President ordered a Special Audit by the Auditor General which revealed that KEMSA stood to lose Kshs. 2.33Billion for the purchases which got stuck in their warehouses due to the inflated costs.
The National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee (PIC), which called for the forensic audit, demanded that all firms that supplied KEMSA the preventive equipment at inflated prices refund the government the excess payments.
Further PIC recommended that the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) trace and seize bank accounts and property such as cars, homes and land that was bought by those who benefitted from the PPEs procurement scandal occasioned by KEMSA.
Parliament also recommended that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) investigate whether all the suppliers that delivered Covid-19 equipment to KEMSA declared and paid taxes to the taxman.
The lead anti-graft agency Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) also flagged out the purchase of PPEs worth Kshs. 6.3 billion by KEMSA as irregular and recommended charges against some officials.
Following the investigations, KEMSA Board and top management were sent packing and a new team appointed to restructure the medical supplies agency.