Meet passerby who landed Sh180m tender at Kemsa
An account of how an “innocent passer-by” landed a Sh180 million tender for the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), yesterday exposed the extent to which mandarins at the premier medical supplies agency dished out tenders to Covid tenderpreneurs in total disregard to procurement processes.
Testifying before a House committee, James Njuguna, a director of La Miguela Holdings Limited, narrated how he got the tender by sheer luck.
Appearing before the National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee (PIC) probing the expenditure of money in the purchase of the Covid related equipment, the businessman said he happened to be passing by the authority headquarters where he spotted many people lining up and became curious as to what taking place.
“I went straight to the receptionist who advised me not to waste time and apply for the tenders which were being flaunted.
I quickly penned off a two-sentence letter and after two hours I was told I had succeeded and asked to collect the commitment letter from the Chief executive officer’s office,” Njuguna recounted.
Asked by the committee chairman Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita), whether he had ever done business with the agency before to warrant such a lucrative tender, Njuguna said he had supplied fire equipment worth Sh400,000 in the past.
Members sought to know how he won the Sh180 million tender having done “small” business with the agency.
“During the time I had a friend who was suffering from Covid, I felt for him and when I heard there was an opportunity to supply equipment to help such people I could not turn it down,” Njuguna said.
The businessman could however not explain why he bypassed all the procurement processes to win the tender.
“Things happened very first, I was acting as directed. There were many people seeking the tenders and therefore one could not question the process at the time,” explained Njuguna.
He added: “The tenders were being issued to address an emergency and hence no need to go through the tedious process as time was running out, the country had been hit by a pandemic.”
It also emerged during yesterday’s sitting that the Registrar of Companies failed to give the names of the shareholders of one of the companies involved in the scam.
Nassir told members that in the report the registrar did not include the names of the owners of Kilig Limited which was at the centre of the scandal.
“It defeats logic for the registrar to give names of some individuals and leave others.
The committee has decided to summon the Registrar of Companies for an explaination,” Nassir directed.
During the hearing one of Kilig Director Ivy Minyow was hard pressed to explain how her company was awarded a tender despite having been registered months before the flaunting of the same.
Minyow, 27, said her company was granted the tender to supply PPEs samples worth Sh9 million, which it duly complied. And was awarded a subsequent Sh4 billion tender.
Yesterday, MPs sought to know why the company supplied samples worth such a huge amount.
“We were too optimistic after Kemsa honoured our request and could not hesitate to provide the samples,” Minyow said.
Nassir said that other companies that failed to honour the invite will now be summoned to appear.
They include Nanopay Limited, Shop N’ Buy and Wallabis Ventures Limited. Directors of Megascope and Crown Healthcare Ltd who sent representatives to appear were ordered to appear in person next week.
Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang differed with Minyow when she said her company was indeed paid for the samples.
“You cannot deceive the committee that these were samples when they were paid for,” Kajwang told Minyow.