Just days after NTV aired an investigative piece by Journalist Dennis Okari dubbed “Covid-19 Millionaires”, Richard Ngatia-led firm, Megascope Healthcare Limited, is now demanding a written apology from Nation Media Group for what they term as “highly damaging allegations” exposing them as one of the beneficiaries of Covid-19 Supplies scam.
For starters, this not the first time Megascope is finding itself in corrupt dealings crosshairs. In November 2019 for instance, the Kenyan’s senators found out that the state was fleeced an extra of sh.4 billion in the now infamous medical equipment leasing scheme.
The Megascope ltd healthcare general manager, Renne Lupalo then cited maintenance, training, insurance, replacement of damaged equipment as some of reasons the costs seemed exaggerated since government are exempted from incurring such costs.
First forward to the 2020, ministry of health partnered with the firm, Megascope in clearing and ordering of personal protective equipment – PPEs effectively putting them in charge overseeing critical supplies which were largely imported.
The CEO of Megascope, Richard Ngatia is a an influential figure in center of power and jubilee administration with sources saying that he is a bosom buddy of Transportation Cabinet minister James Macharia and frequently hangs out with key figures in government in what observers says could reason his company is awarded multimillion shillings tenders in either single-sourcing or sub-contracts.
Megascope ltd alongside Faram Eat Africa Ltd and other 7 companies received bulk tender to supply covid-19 materials running up to sh.500 million which the parliamentary committee on health headed by Muranga Women MP, Sabina Chege unearthed to be involved in tender irregularities and flouting of procurement laws forcing EACC and DCI to open investigations.
Not until the Dennis Okari’s NTV exposé, that highlighted the mysterious disappearance of Jack Ma donations and misappropriation of an estimated of sh.43 billion that has stoked public outrage and bring full spotlight on Megascope healthcare ltd and its chief executive Richard Ngatia dirty dealings in hiding and reselling the equipment donated to Kenya.
The first casualties of the complex network of corruption into tender awards by KEMSA to companies among them Megascope healthcare are three top officials namely CEO, director in charge of commercial and his counterparty in charge of procurement.
The NTV further unearthed that equipment donated were transported by road and sold off in neighboring Tanzania while rest of them including face masks, gloves, body jackets rebranded and sold locally. In what further exemplify how powerful the perpetrators are, Dennis Okari said in his expose said that the police car accompanied the transportation.
Through their advocates, Njoroge Regeru and Company, Megascope limited gave Nation Media group until Friday of August 21 to publish an unreserved, unconditional, effectual apology and run it before their lawyer before posting it in their social media platforms, make it an item on their prime time news bulletin and stop any further publication of what they term as defamatory articles.
Megascope limited further demands that the above exercise be done at Nation’s own cost. And is if that was not enough, they want all contents of the expose in any form or shape be pulled down from all social media platforms while claiming that the allegations made against it have no basis of truth and that they were not contacted for comment on the matter prior to the airing of the story.
“The programme that is accessible to hundreds of millions of readers and viewers locally and globally continues to be viewed electronically throughout the world through your social media platforms whose viewership continues to rise with each passing hour…The programme aired and continued to air various allegations, insinuations and innuendos of and concerning our client which were entirely false and had no basis or foundation whatsoever.” the firm was quoted saying.
According to Megascope limited, the allegations were published and aired sensationally, maliciously and recklessly without regard for the substantial loss, damage and injury that would be occasioned, and has indeed been occasioned to the firm.
“The programme manifested extreme malice and ill will towards our client and as such was wholly lacking in professionalism and illustrated no attention to the principles of responsible and ethical journalism,” the demand letter reads.
Megascope distanced itself from the allegations raised while saying it was never contracted by the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority to clear the consignment of donations on behalf of the agency.
The company said it did not receive any donations from China or anywhere else for distribution to Kenyans.
“Our client did not receive any masks or any other material whatsoever from Jack Ma or any other donor for distribution to Kenyans. Having not received any kits from any country or any donor for distribution, our client did not divert, resell or misappropriate any kits as alleged or at all.”
“The malicious intent of the programme is evident from the fact in making the scurrilous and highly damaging allegations that you did against our client, you offered no evidence whatsoever to the viewers in support of the highly emotive allegations of great public interest to Kenyans.”
Adding that “It is evident, however, that in your determination to make a quick profit out of false, scandalous and sensational allegations against our client, you could not have been deterred by such considerations,” the letter reads.