Mochache in trouble with MPs over medical equipment contracts

Thursday, May 20th, 2021 00:00 |
Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi. Photo/PD/FILE

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache was yesterday at pains to explain why the ministry varied contracts for Managed Equipment Services (MES) without a needs assessment report.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sought to know the criteria used to arrive at the variations and how long the contract was in place before the alterations took place.

According to the MPs, a needs assessment report would have informed the need lease additional equipment for the 24 hospitals.

Mochache, who had appeared before the committee to respond to audit queries for the financial year 2018/19 admitted there was no needs assessment report before the variations.

Initially, the Ministry had entered into agreements with five contractors for lease of medical equipment to 98 hospitals.

Wasted money

Committee members led by the chairperson Opiyo Wandayi accused the ministry of rushing to vary the contracts yet there was no evidence to back the decision.

Wandayi said the variations had occasioned loss of taxpayer’s money.

“By the time these variations were taking place, how long had this contract been in place? I am told that the entire scheme is about six years old and the variations were done somewhere in 2017 which is about three years ago.

This means the scheme was only in place for about two to three years and based on that it is obvious the variation was done based on nothing. I want to conclude that this is wasted money,” he  said.

Mochache said the objective of the project was to ensure access to healthcare services in rural areas.

“This project, even if it has challenges, has been of help  to citizens. If you visit some of the hospitals you will realise this,” she said.

According to the Auditor General, Nancy Gathungu although the ministry on February 6, 2015 entered into agreements with five medical contractors for lease of the medical equipment, the ministry on October 16, 2017 and November 22, 2017, signed variations of contracts with three suppliers for leasing of additional medical equipment to 24 hospitals.

“As at 30 June, 2019, the Ministry had paid a total of Sh26,342,824,540 to the various medical contractors and consultants, out of which an expenditure of Sh8,794,740,483 relates to 2018/2019 financial year.

The expenditure of Sh8,794,740,483 included Sh902,231,552 in respect of the variation of contracts,” Gathungu says in her report.

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