United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Global Fund could withdraw Sh400 billion donation to Kenya following graft allegations at Afya House and Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa).
The funds were meant to support HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria programs for a period of three years. The two international bodies have expressed concerns over the continued misappropriation of funds by government agencies.
This comes a week after US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter demanded for accountability for COVID-19 funds.
“They are stealing Kenyan lives through the PPEs scandal and there needs to be a huge outrage on this scandal,” McCarter said.
Kemsa has been on the spot for procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) at inflated prices. Some of the equipment is allegedly about to expire. The agency is apparently holding equipment valued at Sh6 billion but is willing to sell for Sh4 billion should the ministry of health give the go-ahead
Kemsa is seeking Sh5 billion funding from the national government to cushion them from the loss of billions occasioned by poor procurement decisions.
In July, for example, Kemsap procured N95 (1860) masks at Sh1,300 per piece against the Sh700 market price. 5000 pieces were bought. KN95 masks that go for Sh450 were purchased at Sh700 per piece. Kemsa ordered for 1,836,400 masks. Disposable masks that retail at Sh50 per piece were also procured at Sh90 each.
Appearing before the National Assembly Committee on Health, CS Mutahi Kagwe cited frustrations in the fight against corruption in his ministry.
Last Friday, Kemsa board suspended CEO Jonah Manjari to pave way for the probe by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission over alleged tendering irregularities. Also being investigated is Eliud Muriithi (Commercial Director) and Charles Juma (Procurement Director).
Board Chair Kembi Gitura said the officials will remain suspended until the ongoing investigation in concluded.
“We want to assure Kenyans and our development partners that the Kemsa Board of Directors pledges unequivocal support to the ongoing investigations by EACC. We are not going to protect anybody who is found to be culpable and any such persons shall face the consequences,” Gitura said.