Firm got Sh134m Kemsa tender courtesy of guard

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021 10:42 |
Kemsa offices.

Revelations before lawmakers give a chronology of how the agency dished out tenders in disregard of procurement law.

A security officer helped a tenderpreneur secure a Sh134 million tender at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority, (Kemsa), a parliamentary committee heard on Tuesday.

The revelations exposed the extent to which mandarins at the premier medical supplies agency, dished out tenders to traders in total disregard of procurement processes.

Lucy Mutema, the managing director of Petrel Agencies Limited while appearing before the Public Investments Committee (PIC), said she was doing her routine visits to the authority, when she found many people who had converged at the premises.

“There were very many people and vehicles at the Kemsa gate. I walked in and asked the security officer what was happening and he told me not to waste time but collect tender documents, sign and take them to the procurement department,” Mutema who was accompanied by a director James Mutema said.

“I obliged without asking further questions and after filling the tender documents, rushed to the office of the Director of Procurement Charles Juma to present them,” Mutema told the committee chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir.

Inside Juma’s office, things moved pretty fast and upon presenting her documents, she was awarded a Sh134 million tender for the supply of Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs).

She said Juma asked her to bring samples of the items and after one and half hours, Petrel Agencies was awarded the lucrative tender.

Surprisingly, all the companies who supplied PPEs to the agency will be paid all their dues according to Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto.

He told the committee last month that the law requires that even in situations where contracts were illegally awarded, suppliers, must be paid but using the current market prices.

“In the case of Kemsa Covid materials contracts, we established that they were illegal and hence not enforceable, but the courts have since expressed themselves on the matter that suppliers must be paid at the current market prices,” Ogeto said.

Asked by Nassir whether in her nine years of working with Kemsa, it has ever taken that fast for a tender to be awarded, Mutema said it was the first time it was happening.

“It has never happened that fast, it was the first one. We normally tender and due process allowed to take place before a tender is awarded,” Mutema explained.

The owner of another firm, Set Life Medical Limited, could not explain how he was paid Sh48 million for the supply of PPEs even before a contract was signed.

James Ndung’u said he had a running tender for the supply of PPEs in July 2018, but when Covid -19 struck he was asked to supply PPEs worth Sh 48. 4 million.

“I was approached by Kemsa to supply theatre boots worth Sh48 million and a deal was struck. The contract documents were issued later,” Ndung’u added.

He said he was promptly paid after delivering the items but the contract was never signed between the two parties.

Sheer luck

Asked by Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwan’g how such business worked without the legal documents, Ndung’u said he was responding to an emergency as requested by the authority.

Meanwhile, two directors of another company which is also on the spot over the supply of Covid -19 related equipment, Angelica Medical Supplies Limited, were turned down after the company chairperson failed to show up.

The company was awarded a tender worth Sh384 million for the supply of Covid -19 related equipment.

Company chief executive Nicholas Gitonga was told he would not represent the firm since the tender documents were signed by the board chairperson Mary Matu, who happens to be his mother.

Last year another tenderprenuer told the committee how he just “passed by” the authority and landed a Sh80 million tender for the supply of PPEs.

James Njuguna, a director of La Miguela Holdings Limited, told the committee how he got the tender by sheer luck.

Things happened very first. I was acting as directed. There were many people seeking tenders and therefore one could not question the process at the time,” he said.

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