Ngatia defends firm’s involvement in Coronavirus drugs supply scam

Friday, September 4th, 2020 12:00 |
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Richard Ngatia when he appeared before the Health committee of the National Assembly. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

Businessman Richard Ngatia yesterday denied being involved in shady deals with Kemsa in the supply of Covid-19 equipment.

Appearing before a parliamentary committee, Ngatia, who is the MD of one of the firms awarded tenders by Kemsa in the supply of the Covid-19 items, warned that the current trend of painting private businesses as corrupt was in bad light as it scared away investors and at the same time result to their downfall.

Ngatia, the President of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), also denied claims that his firm was involved in clearing items donated by the Jack Ma Foundation.

“This was a far-fetched allegation. We are not in the business of clearing and forwarding, we supply,” said a fuming Ngatia.

Ngatia stated that he had already gone to court for the adverse mention of his business carried by a section of the media.

He warned that negative and unsubstantiated reporting was driving investors  away.

“In Rwanda, Uganda and Nigeria, businesses are doing really well. Politicians and media houses don’t interfere with businesses.

“This has chased away investors and as the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry president I have taken note of the problem,” said Ngatia.

Dealings with Kemsa

He explained that his firm had never been involved in corrupt practices even in its dealings with Kemsa, the national and county governments.

The owner of another company involved in the Kemsa tender, Shop and Buy was put to task to explain how the firm which was registered in April this year soon after the coronavirus broke out was awarded a tender worth Sh900 million.

Shop and Buy Managing Director James Chelule said his company was in the process of renegotiating the prices of the items delivered to Kemsa.

Asked what would happen should negotiations with Kemsa review the prices downwards, Chelule said it was not likely to happen.

“Negotiations never fail, we will agree and I do not expect the prices to be reviewed downwards, we are in business,” Chelule told amused members of the committee.

Chelule, however, could not explain how his firm was awarded the lucrative tender after having in business after only two months.

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