Sell Kemsa supplies but punish fraudsters
That people sought to profiteer from the ravaging coronavirus disease is sinful.
That tenders were issued irregularly and procurement rules bent to benefit a few people is immoral.
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa compared this lot to murderers. Courtesy of their acts Kenya will lose billions of shillings.
Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) is in the eye of a storm over the fraud and those found culpable are being processed to be charged in court. Thanks to that mess, Kemsa is holding supplies valued at Sh6.2 billion from the exaggerated costing.
What has been of contention is whether to bite the bullet and sell the Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) at market rate.
When Kemsa officials appeared before the National Assembly Health Committee , they floated the idea of selling the items at market rate, thus recording a loss or keeping them in their stores, hoping the prices will improve especially for the KN9 mask that was bought for Sh700 and retailing at Sh250.
Currently the mask can be procured at between Sh50 and Sh100. And the prices are likely to fall further.
The decision by the Ministry of Health to put the items in the market recoup whatever amount they can earn, is a bold move.
It is better to provide the populace with the materials than letting them rot in Kemsa stores.
Learners in schools are in need of the PPEs; health workers on the frontline in the fight against the pandemic need the equipment; the vulnerable in society are in need of them too.
These groups should be given priorities in the purchase of or distribution of the protective gear.
As the government opens the stores for the sale of the PPEs, it is prudent to keep away dirty schemers.
It is not inconceivable that some corrupted mind is thinking of ways of making a kill out of the sad situation.
The sale of these items will only make sense if those who corruptly procured them are brought to book.
Those found culpable should be punished for their acts. Where possible they should pay for the monies lost.
Selling the items is the lesser of the evils as keeping them in stores would only see them waste away.
For this reason, authorities should not relent in their pursuit of both Kemsa officials, Ministry of Health honchos and the greedy businessmen who took part in the fraud.