Inside Politics

Kemsa date with fate nears as probe enters final stage

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020 08:00 |
Kenya Medical Supplies Authority offices in Nairobi. Photo/PD/File

Investigations into the alleged graft at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) are almost complete.

Top managers at the drug agency have recorded statements in relation to the said scandal, even as the deadline given by President Uhuru Kenyatta on conclusion of the probe lapses today.

So far, detectives have confiscated electronic gadgets including computers, laptops and cell phones from all top managers at Kemsa.

Sources at the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) revealed to the People Daily that detectives were yesterday engaged in a beehive of activities in  a bid to  unravel the mess and build a water-tight case against the culprits.

Crucial documents

EACC chief executive officer Twalib Mbarak, without giving a definite date on when the investigations will be complete,  indicated that the anti-graft body was almost done with the probe.

“We are almost there. But Kenyans should know that once we finish, we will forward the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions for approval,” said Twalib.

Among those who have appeared before the anti-graft agency are suspended CEO Jonah Manjari, Jubilee Party vice-chairman David Murathe, board chairman Kembi Gitura, suspended Procurement director Charles Juma and director for Commerce David Mureithi.

Last week, detectives raided Kemsa offices and seized crucial documents in the alleged loss of Covid-19 cash.

They took away cell phones, computers and laptops from top managers to assist in the investigation. It had earlier emerged that crucial documents from the procurement department had been erased.

A source privy to the investigation told People Daily that e-mail messages crucial to the probe, showing which companies were awarded the tenders had been deleted at the procurement department.

While issuing the directive, the President asked government agencies to expedite investigations into alleged theft of funds at Kemsa.

“All persons found culpable from the ongoing investigations on Covid funds  theft should be brought to book, notwithstanding their social status or political affiliations,” said the President.

Three weeks ago Twalib said that the procurement scandal would “shock” the nation due to the amount of money involved and its complex nature.

Twalib termed the scandal as “massive” and warned that investigations will take some time to conclude.

The anti graft  boss said the agency was investigating aspects of financial impropriety, abuse of procurement regulations through direct sourcing, Kemsa staff using proxies to milk the medical agency, possible price inflation of supplied items as well as profiling companies involved to establish if they are genuine or were registered as conduits.

“This is a big and wide case that will take time to process. The case has very many angles including financial analysis, procurement to establish if the items were sold at the right price or there was exaggeration of costs or if they were dummy supplies,” Twalib said. 

Procurement irregularities

A joint senate Ad Hoc Committee investigating the scandal has given Auditor General Nancy Gathungu 14 days to submit a preliminary report on the procurement processes undertaken in response to Covid-19 pandemic at the troubled supplies agency. 

“I am directing that you give us a preliminary report on procurement processes at Kemsa by September 30,” said Trans Nzoia Senator Michael Mbito, the committee chair.

“We are not interested in what went to the counties for now. That will be captured in a subsequent report,” Mbito added.

Gathungu had requested the joint committee to give her up to October 15 but senators rejected her request saying they had narrowed down the scope of work to allegations of procurement irregularities at the agency.

“ I hope that I will have a comprehensive report based on procurement compliance at Kemsa before that time,” she said.

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