KEMSA to start releasing PPEs after Cabinet approval: Health Ministry

KEMSA to start releasing PPEs after Cabinet approval: Health Ministry

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) is expected to start releasing Personal Protective Equipment from their warehouses by Friday, the Health Ministry has said.

According to CAS Mercy Mwangangi, there was a delay because the directive had to wait for Cabinet approval.

Speaking during a meeting with the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday, Dr. Mwangangi said the authority will be informed of the decision to have the PPEs sold at an affordable price.

However, a section of Senators expressed their dissatisfaction with her statements and accused the government of delaying the process even as COVID-19 continues to ravage the country.

KEMSA–a State Corporation that specializes in providing medical logistics for public health facilities and programs–risks losing Ksh.2billion if the PPEs are sold at the proposed lower price.

In September, a report by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu revealed that the KEMSA procurement scandal saw Kenya lose Ksh.2.3million.

The report tabled at the Senate shed light on how KEMSA violated several laws, leading to the staggering losses.

For instance, some of the companies that were awarded multimillion tenders had only been around for a few months.

This indicated a possible collusion between these companies and KEMSA’s top brass who have been fingered in the ongoing probe.

The Senate heard that companies that had been around for less than year were awarded contracts without having the necessary qualifications to supply medical equipment.

In recommendations to the Senate, the office of the Auditor General called for government agencies to conduct thorough investigations.

The same report also recommended that KEMSA withhold any further processing of COVID-19 related claims until an independent audit is done.

In October, the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji returned the KEMSA file to the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC).

In a statement released, the DPP said that upon finalising reviewing files of the alleged beneficiaries, “it has emerged that the scope of the investigations is massive, with several witnesses, entities and thousands of documents to be examined.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta had on August 26, given EACC 21 days to conclude investigations into alleged irregular procurement and fraudulent payments.