KENYA: How Kenyans have been treated to theatrics in Kemsa multi-million saga

March theStar; From ‘God led me to Kemsa’ to a passerby who won multi-million tenders.

These are some of the scheming conspiracies that the tenderpreneurs of the Kemsa scam have treated Kenyans to.

With over Sh7.8bn funds misappropriated in the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency, Kenyans have been subjected to the theatrics that goes against objectivity.

Investigations have uncovered evidence of tenders being allegedly given to politically connected individuals and businesses.

The government ordered an investigation following a public outcry. Kemsa received the mount as aid and grants to fight Covid-19.

But the state body responsible for purchases denied that any money was stolen.

Here are some of the reasons given by the suppliers;

“God led me to Kemsa”

A nurse told members of the Public Investments Committee that God led her to a Sh42 million tender at the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency.

Eunice Cherono invoked the name of God saying her persistent prayers delivered the tender, which is among those under probe by the House team.

Cherono told the Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir-led committee that she walked to Kemsa after days of prayer and walked out with the deal without the intervention of any influential person at Kemsa or outside the medical supplies authority.

“Before walking to Kemsa, the situation in my company was so bad and I had prayed about these Covid-19 supplies. I prayed about it. And I can tell you without fear this is God’s doing. I prayed for it. God does miracles,” Cherono told the MPs.

The sole proprietor of Leon Interior Deco and Design Ltd said she went to Kemsa of her own volition as she didn’t know anyone at the entity.

“I can tell you without fear that God directed me there (to Kemsa). I prayed for it and I can tell you my prayer was answered,” Cherono said.

She told MPs that after walking to Kemsa, she found a receptionist who told her to wait after she explained that she was there to look for a tender to supply masks.

The woman, she said, helped her secure a letter of commitment to supplying masks and personal protective equipment.

Passerby who landed Sh124m deal

Petrel Agencies director Lucy Mutema was on a routine visit to Kemsa to check if there were new tenders when she saw hordes of people along the corridors.

She told the Public Investments Committee that while passing, she inquired from the security guard who told her that the crowd she witnessed was of people bidding for Covid-19 tenders.

Mutema told the Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir-led committee that she normally visits Kemsa every year, being a prequalified supplier of some of the items that had been floated for tendering.

“I found a large group of people and asked the security guard who sent me to the reception where I learned of ongoing bids for supplies of Covid-19 items,” she told MPs during a probe on the irregular tenders.

Mutema said she then met procurement director Charles Juma (now suspended) and the latter’s secretary Pamela Kaburu who informed her of the urgent call for supplies.

MPs were further shocked to learn that her sample was approved within minutes, raising questions on how that would ascertain if the items were of good quality.

Kemsa supplier tells of Covid prediction 

Joel Ndegwa told the Public Investments Committee that he in December 2019 projected that there would be a business at the medical supplies authority.

He sent word to his wife Lydia who secured a contract of Sh225 million.

They have been paid Sh117 million for the purported supplies or protective equipment for medical workers.

Ndegwa told the Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir-chaired committee that he was working in Iraq when he secured the tender.

Ndegwa said that for him, he committed no wrong as he saw an opportunity to supply the kits comprising suits, gloves, masks, goggles and shoes.

He, therefore, asked his wife, a co-director with 70 per cent shareholding, to make plans to get the tender, which he said fell under direct procurement.

“I did my research on who was supplying what and at what price. We sent one of our employees to Kemsa and she was directed to the procurement department,” he said.

The worker identified as Margaret Murage went to the offices on a Friday and had the second tender by Tuesday of the following week.

Ndegwa said he is owed Sh108 million adding he didn’t see if there was a need for bidding.

Anonymous phone call led supplier to Sh180m masks tender

A Kemsa supplier walked her way to a Sh180 million tender after a call from an anonymous client who wanted her firm Bennet Ventures to supply them with bulk quantities of face masks.

Molly Cheruto told the National Assembly Public Investments Committee that the call was from among many enquiries to her company at that time.

She said the call spoke of a friend of his who had secured an order from Kemsa for a bulk supply of masks, hence sparked her interest out of which she got a tender to supply 40,000 masks.

Molly told MPs that since there was a shortage of masks, and she was equally on a hunt for the same, she visited a go-down where Chinese importers had stocked supplies.

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