Manjari embroiled in fresh Sh5.4 billion irregular kit supply expenditure

Friday, October 2nd, 2020 11:00 |
Suspended Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) CEO Dr Jonah Manjari

Suspended Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) CEO Dr Jonah Manjari is once again on the spot over a fresh Sh5.4 billion irregular procurement of coronavirus kit expenditure.

 Manjari, who alongside Procurement Director Charles Juma, and Director for Commercial Services Eliud Mureithi who are already facing investigations by an anti-graft  commission over the Kemsa scandal has found himself on the receiving end once more after Auditor General Nancy Gathungu accused him of approving procurement plans totalling to Sh5.4 billion for Covid-19 health products and technologies (HPT’s).

The auditor observed that the medical supplies agency issued commitment letters amounting to Sh7.8 billion on Covid-19 related procurements yet there was no capital budgetary allocation.

 The questionable transactions included the supply of red top plain tubes 4mI and vortex mixer for Sh477,600 through direct procurement. 

 “Though the procurement plan indicates that the procurements were to be funded by Kemsa’s capital allocation, there was no approved budget allocation for Covid-19 related procurements in both the Kemsa Capital Budget and the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Budget,” says the report.

 “Therefore, the above procurement plan was not integrated with the applicable budget process for Covid-19 expenditures contrary to Section 53 (5) of the Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015,” It goes on.

Section 53 (5) of the Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015 requires procurement and asset planning to be based on indicative or approved budgets which shall be integrated with the applicable budget process.

 According to the report, stock management records at Kemsa indicate that as at the time of the audit, Covid-19 stock procured at Sh6.3 billion was still being held at Kemsa warehouse as of August 31. 

“This implies that there was no justification for procuring the items based on urgency,” Gathungu observed.

 Section ‘39 (2) of the Public Finance Management Regulations, 2015, requires accounting officers to ensure that processes and procedures are in place for effective, efficient, economical, and transparent use of government assets.

 Kemsa board chairman Kembi Gitura in a letter dated August 20 had warned that the agency may not be able to sell the outstanding stock at prevailing market rates.

“With the declining demand for Covid-19 related items, it is unlikely that Kemsa will be able to liquidate the stock and therefore Kemsa is exposed to the risk of holding the stock to expiry,” he stated.

 He warned that under the circumstances, Kemsa stood to suffer a Sh2.3 billion shilling loss as it could only sell the stock at Sh4 billion, way below their actual value of Sh6.3 billion.

Ironically, Agutu has been pushing for quick resolution of graft cases and in July this year, he made a media appearance and urged the EACC to investigate corruption allegations at the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).

He asked the anti-graft agency to look into four bank accounts and establish why suppliers were being asked to pay double or through cartels.

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