KEMSA Bosses Expose Letter That Initiated Multi-Billion Scandal

  • KEMSA Board Chairman Kembi Gitura
    KEMSA Board Chairman Kembi Gitura speaking at parliament buildings on August 27, 2020.
    K24 Digital
  • New evidence has been brought to light as investigations into the alleged loss of billions at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) gear forward.

    While appearing before the National Assembly Health Committee on Thursday, August 27, the organisation's board chairman Kembi Gitura disclosed that the authority took orders from the Health Ministry.

    According to Gitura, a letter dated April 15 from Health PS Susan Mochache gave directions on how to purchase the Covid-19 materials.

    The Sabina Chege-led committee heard that the Ministry gave precise instructions on how to go about the procurement which the chairman noted was irregular.

    An image of Susan Mochache
    Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache speaking at a past event.

    "We received a letter from the Ministry of Health containing a list of where we should procure from, the prices and the quantity. I can vouch on the quality of PPEs we procured," he stated.

    The letter in question was addressed to now-suspended CEO Jonah Manjari, where the Health PS gave directions on how to go about the procurement.

    "This is to approve the procurement of goods worth Ksh758,690,583 as outlined in the annex. Disregard all other requests made in relation to Covid-19 as they have been captured under this approval," the letter read in part.

    Also appearing before the committee, KEMSA’s acting Procurement Officer Edward Buluma told the MPs that the directive by the ministry was not procedural.

    Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny during the session on Thursday, August 27, noted that the order from the Health Ministry went against tender rules making it an irregularity. 

    However in an earlier sitting before the same panel, the Health Ministry denied directing the Medical supplies body on what to buy.

    After details of the scandal came to light, KEMSA CEO Jonah Manjari was suspended over allegations that the authority flouted procurement regulations after it emerged that officials dished out tenders to mysterious entities under the cover of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Manjari was suspended alongside Charles Juma (head of procurement) and Eliud Mureithi (commercial director) to allow EACC complete investigations into the matter.

    In a reshuffle announcement that was later retracted, Health PS Susan Mochache was assigned to head the Medical Services docket as Dr. Francis Owino was made the Principal Secretary for Public Health.

    The president noted that the changes are in a bid to strengthen the Ministry of Health that has been rocked by corruption scandals.

    Uhuru touched on the KEMSA scandal during his Eleventh Presidential address on the Covid-19 pandemic and ordered a probe into the graft.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing the nation on August 26, 2020.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing the nation on August 26, 2020.
    File