WASTING AWAY

Covid-19 case models informed Kemsa purchases - Manjari

Suspended CEO tells MPs they had no intent to break the law, stockpile

In Summary

•PIC is querying the Kemsa managers on why they did not stop supplies after realising counties were buying their own and donors making further commitments on the items they were sourcing. 

•Health PS Susan Mochache, Kemsa acting CEO Edward Njoroge and the Kemsa board chaired by former Embu Senator Kembi Gitura have appeared before the committee.

Suspended Kemsa Ceo Jonah Manjari when he appeared before Public Investment Committee, November 18, 2020.
Suspended Kemsa Ceo Jonah Manjari when he appeared before Public Investment Committee, November 18, 2020.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Suspended Kemsa CEO Jonah Manjari said the entity overshot its  spending on Covid-19 reponse following models of infection that were shared by the Health ministry.

He told the Public Investments Committee that the ministry gave them projections which showed that Covid19 would peak at 10,000 of cases in April.

Manjari said it was on this basis that they prepared a list of items – as requested by the ministry, which led to the extra supplies.

 
 

The suspended CEO said at first they were told by the Health ministry that Sh1.1 billion was available for a start.

PIC is probing issues flagged in a special audit by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu on the Kemsa purchases.

Health PS Susan Mochache, Kemsa acting CEO Edward Njoroge and the Kemsa board chaired by former Embu Senator Kembi Gitura have appeared before the committee.

The PS and board say the management should be held responsible for the messes at the supplies agency.

When he faced the Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir-led committee on Wednesday, the embattled CEO was hard-pressed to explain how they failed to stop the flawed purchases.

MPs piled pressure to explain why they continued receiving goods from suppliers yet some of those sought were already obtained from donors.

Manjari told MPs he did not know how the suppliers came to learn of Kemsa business saying he only interacted with the companies when he issued them commitment letters.

 
 

“I did not intend to break any law or stock piling. I don't know how the companies came to know we were doing business. We couldn’t cancel their commitments since the supplies were at different stages of delivery,” he said.

Lawmakers sought answers on why the agency did not engage the prequalified suppliers for commodities such as gloves and masks.

On this, Manjari said the suppliers were contacted but reported that they could not supply.

Nassir said: “He must bring the reports since a number of issues he alluded to are not clear.”

The CEO was told off when he attempted to express his sympathies with doctors who are suffering for lack of PPEs.

Nassir said: “We will save lives by ensuring those who are culpable are punished. We would have saved lives if we ensured that we bought items at the right price and for the right quantity. What value do you get when stuck with 97 per cent of what you purchased?”

The embattled CEO is expected to return before the committee on Wednesday next week to provide evidence detailing his claims.

MPs asked him to provide the market survey that informed the purchases; the letters informing Kemsa on the Covid19 infections model and authorization to move UHC funds to Kemsa capital fund.

Manjari said they had anticipated the stocks would move but the same was scuttled by the greenlight for counties to purchase their own kits and donations.