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KEMSA: MPs want suppliers to refund cash

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PIC invites the anti-graft agency to investigate the top Kemsa management on how it processed payment to some suppliers

PIC invites the anti-graft agency to investigate the top Kemsa management on how it processed payment to some suppliers

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The  National Assembly watchdog committee probing the scandal  wants the Assets Recovery Agency to recover monies paid to suppliers who inflated prices of items supplied to KEMSA.

A special audit by Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu showed that Kemsa may realise a loss of Sh2.33 billion if the products, which were stuck at its warehouses, are sold at the current market price.

The National Assembly Public Investments Committee(PIC) has recommended that the EACC investigates former chairman Kembi Gitura, Joel Onsare and former Kemsa board members.

Also recommended for probe are suspended CEO Jonah Manjari, director of procurement Charles Juma, Finance director Waiganjo Karanja and head of legal Ferdinand Wanyonyi for dereliction of duty.

Manjari is  to be probed for ignoring the advice of the Kemsa board meeting of April 2020 that resolved to suspend further procurement because of a lack of budgets.

Waiganjo could be investigated on “whether he abdicated duty as the head of the finance function” and for Wanyonyi on whether he discharged his duty as a legal adviser to the CEO during the procurement.

PIC has also invited the anti-graft agency to investigate the top Kemsa management on how it processed payment to some suppliers.

The committee specifically wants officers, who allegedly backdated the commitment letters issued to Shop n Buy Ltd, prosecuted.

Only two companies were found to have followed the law in the procurement of the Covid-19 response items. The rest used commitment letters.

“Harleys Limited and Nairobi Enterprises Limited that insisted on following the procurement law were left out in the payment,”

the report reads.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) documented evidence of “criminal” behaviour in the purchase of COVID-19 kits and declared there was “irregular expenditure” of cash amounting to Ksh7.8 billion. “Once the overpaid amount is determined by a multi-agency team, ARA should move to recover the money from the firms that were overpaid,” Abdulswamad Nassir, who chairs the committee, said.

Public Investment Committee chairman Abdulswamad Nassir

Kemsa bought the Covid-19 emergency equipment at Sh6.3 billion in a procurement the EACC flagged as irregular and recommended charges against some officials.

In a separate report, the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority catalogued instances of alleged inflation of prices for products procured by Kemsa.

Kemsa bought the Covid-19 emergency equipment at Sh6.3 billion in a procurement the EACC flagged as irregular and recommended charges against some officials.

In a report tabled in Parliament last evening, the PIC wants all firms that supplied Kemsa at inflated prices to refund the government the excess payment within a month.

Scores of public officials and business people have appeared in court in recent months on charges relating to alleged theft of hundreds of millions of shillings from public coffers.

As a result of the cases, the State has either frozen or seized hundreds of millions of shillings in bank accounts and confiscated assets such as homes, land and luxury cars from the suspects.

Official data shows that the State agencies recovered assets linked to graft worth Sh12.8 billion in the year to June last year, up from Sh3.8 billion in the year to June 2018— reflecting the government’s aggressiveness in recovering stolen public properties.

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