Can KEMSA CEO Manjari be trusted in the fight against Coronavirus?

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(Kemsa CEO Dr Jonah Manjari. Photo courtesy)

When one looks at the fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), they see that the government of Kenya (GoK) is set to win the fight without much fuss, however, one thing is missing – the cog in the wheel.

Jonah Manjari, the CEO of Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) is that missing link in the formidable fight against covid-19. Here’s how.

Jonah Manjari cuts an image of a working man but this is far from the truth for the man who came from heading the county (Nakuru) health ministry, to the helm of one of the most important and strategic medical supplies institution; the mantra has been to loot.

In 2019, staff at KEMSA were not happy with the management of the institution and information about mismanagement and corruption started leaking to the media. Online sources carried the massive looting by Mr Manjari who was emboldened by his close relationship to the former Cabinet Secretary for health Sicily Kariuki.

The Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (Masters in ENT) graduate has only spent nearly a year at KEMSA.

The 14 years old KEMSA which is mandated with procurement, storage and distribution of drugs and medical supplies for prescribed public health programs, the national strategic stock reserve, and national referral hospitals was the best place to become rich for the vultures, and Manjari was their guy.

Manjari with his over 20 years experience in health service couldn’t keep his ship in order let alone keep his mjulubeng in his pants.

KEMSA first recruited over 400 staff irregularly. Most of those recruited were girlfriends and close family members of senior staff.

In June 2019, Dr Manjari took a trip to a foreign land – Dubai, on that trip a girlfriend was in tow. There were four people who were supposed to travel; Dr Manjari, two Perwonal Assistants and a mistress. However, in the end, Dr Manjari travelled with one Personal Assistant and his mistress on the expense of KEMSA accounts. One of the PAs remained in Kenya hiding after having cashed-in the perdiem for the trip.

Top managers had formed shell companies and even lobbied to have those controlled by friendly directors land lucrative tenders.

According to online sources, one company Manjari is accused in favouring in tender awards trades is under Astique Ventures Ltd. The directors of Astique are Doris Anita, Nyawita Kivuti and Alister Halima Kariuki. They are all Kenyans with postal address 2140-00200 Nairobi.

Astique Ventures was awarded three contracts to supply non-pharmaceutical, (surgical dressings) running into millions of shillings. The first being Kemsa/ONT2/2017-2019 awarded on August 14, 2018 of Sh1,013,080 dated July 8, 2018. On one day, Astique Ventures won three cool tenders.

Another firm that is favoured at Kemsa is Angelica Medical. The directors are Nicholas Gitonga Matu, Daniel Matu and Mary Wanja. Their postal address is 70676-00100, Nairobi.

It was a Sh10,266,300 tender to supply of non pharmaceuticals via tender Kemsa/ONT 01/2017-2018.

It is also imperative to note that before Astique was awarded the three tenders on August 15, 2018 and on July 13, 2018, it had also won a lucrative Kemsa/ONT 01/2018 worth Sh36,799,840.

As that is not enough, the same Astique Ventures firm on September 3 2018 via tender Kemsa/ONT 03/2017-18 was award Sh556,920 tender to supply non-pharmaceuticals.

To show how well-connected Astique Ventures is at Kemsa, on November 1, 2018 via tender Kemsa/ONT04/2017-2019 it was awarded a whopping Sh105,682,000 deal.

In the said tender, a one Isaac Wachira Munene, Alister Halima, Dorisanita Nyawira Kivuti, Kariuki Isaac are named as directors.

Questions are being asked as to whether Astique Ventures has rotating directos.
On September 3, 2018, Uhuru Kenyatta sister Ann Nyokabi-Muthama and cousin Kathleen Wanjiku Kihanya were awarded Kemsa/ONT03/2017-2019 to supply non pharmaceuticals worth Sh6,581,424 on October 4, 2018. Sundales won a Sh7,832,722 supply of syringes via Kemsa/0 TS/12016-2018 award using the company Sundales International Ltd.

Back to Angelica Medical Suppliers, on October 12 2018, it won tender Kemsa/SSD-DP05/2018-2020 for the supply of Erythropoetin 2000LV injections and Erythropoetim 5000 LV injection, at Sh466,830.

It was followed by that of November 22 2018, Kemsa/SSD-DPO8/2018-2020 of Sh11, 960,800 to supply concentrated acid (Haemosafe).

Another firm our source at Kemsa wants investigated is Prodigy Health Care. The directors are Catherine Njeri Otieno, Gerald Otieno, Nyakwaka Oyugi and Vyajkumar Kintilal Patel. On September 3 2018, it won tender Kemsa /ONT 03 / 2017-2019 of Sh116, 325 for non pharmaceuticals supply. Come November 1, 2018, it was awarded Sh21,084,161 tender Kemsa/ONT04/2017-2019 supply of non pharmaceuticals, (surgical sutures, dispensing envelopes).

On October 29, 2018, the same Prodigy Health Care won Sh17,370,651 Kemsa/ON17/2017-2018 to supply surgical catheters and gloves.

On August 13, 2018, Prodigy Health Care via Kemsa 01-2017-2019 won Sh3,700,000 supply of nonpharmaceutical.

Then we have PAsaiby Tourmaline Ltd of Irene Chemutai Rop and Amos Kipkoech as directors. On August 15, 2018, the firm won two tenders of Sh3,219,995 and Sh1,650,688 million to supply non pharmaceuticals.

Come September 10, 2018, the same firm via Kemsa ONT05/2017-2019 was awarded Sh1,363,482 deal to supply theatre boots size 8.

Another firm Gladlab Suppliers Limited is said to have parted with a cool Sh50 million to win tender Kemsa/ON17/2017-2019 to supply non pharmaceutical surgical catheters and gloves at a cool Sh85,620,606. The firm directors are Glady Muthoni Thumi and Duncan Mwangi Kibiru. Gladlab pointman within Kemsa is Eliud Muriithi, the commercial director.

Our source revealed that it is in supply of non-pharmaceuticals that is highly budgeted for that mega deal are cut and that is why a firm can get an award for more than two tenders all at highly inflated cost. The quoted price is said to be over 10 times the market price.

In supply of Linen Tender, only five firms First Quality Supplies of Ronnie Kiprono, Miriam Jepkosgei, Nollsworth Enterprise of Catherine Kihara, Henry Karume, Seluk Investments, Winston International Ltd of Akram Khan, Nawed Khan and Aladka Ltd directors of Fahm Mohamud and Ali Barrow won the tenders.

Then we have supply of pharmaceuticals that are dominated by crafty Asian businessmen who openly boast of bribing who is who at Kemsa.

One notorious firm in the said tendering is Sai Pharmaceuticals Ltd whose directors are Divesh Kotecha, Bhavesh P Kotecha and Rajesh P Kotecha. On November 15, 2018, Sai was awarded Sh19,843,159 to supply injectives and vaccines via tender Kemsa – OIT6-2017-2019.

On August 13, 2018, Sai was awarded Sh298,455 tender to supply oral liquids and inhaler. Come September 9, 2018, the same firm had a Sh1,826,924 deal to supply pharmaceutical and injectables. On August 27, 2018, it was awarded Sh1,199,643 to supply tablets and capsules all under lowest evaluated responsible bidder.

On October 18, 2018, Sai was awarded Sh6, 957,709 tender to supply disinfectants and antiseptics. It was followed by another Sh4, 984,189 deal to supply injections and vaccine on December 7, 2018.

Weekly Citizen has information from the Asian community that Sai Pharmaceutical directors evade taxes running into millions of shillings despite being paid by Kemsa. They are well linked at Kenya Revenue Authority.

The authority had 759 staff against the benchmark of 341. According to the report for the financial year ending June 30, 2018, the authority paid Sh8.7 million to 26 staff seconded to the agency. The 26 had been working for Kemsa for over six years. This, the report observed, was contrary to its human resource policy that restricts secondment to a period not exceeding three years.
“Further, the seconded 26 staff include 12 staff with no special skills contrary to paragraph 7.3 of the human resource policies and procedure which provide for secondment of employees with special skills that are not available within the authority,” part of the report reads.

According to the Auditor General Ouko, the authority paid Sh9.3 million in salaries to 40 employees during the year under review and another two who were promoted without necessary approvals.

The auditor questioned Kemsa’s expenditure on wage bill amounting to Sh765 million for the year under review. The audit report raised a red flag on the cost of Sh150 million expired drugs that was declared by the management, noting that no explanation was given for stocking the expired drugs.
“Consequently, the accuracy and validity of the balance of the net sales of Sh709 million cannot be confirmed,” the report stated.

The audit flagged another expenditure of Sh8 million, which included Sh6 million, that was paid out to members of the board as sitting and lunch allowances. “Further, the sitting and lunch allowances included an amount of Sh1.6 million paid to four board members whose supporting invitation letters and minutes of the meeting held were not availed for audit verification,” stated the report.

It was also revealed in the audit that the authority does not possess ownership documents for various parcels of land located in at least five counties and valued at Sh158 million. According to the report, the agency has the property valued at Sh3.9 billion, which include parcels of land worth Sh1.7 billion.

The auditor’s report also raised queries over parcels of land without any documentation that include Eldoret Block 10/155/6 valued at Sh25 million, Garissa PDP Ref No 326/2003/58 valued at Sh6.5 million, Kakamega-Green Site 4/168 worth Sh7.5 million, Kakamega PGH 4/168-Sh3 million and Kisumu 209163/IX estimated at Sh25 million.

The other parcels of land without title deeds are Mombasa 209163/A valued at Sh76 million and Nyeri 3/173/174 worth Sh15 million.

In one of the latest address by President Uhuru Kenyatta, he directed that KEMSA to waive three months supply of PPEs to counties, National government to give Sh5 billion but it’s our fear that this money given by National Government might be lost; shared among the various vultures at KEMSA and their girlfriends.

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