Treasury denies role in botched Sh4bn mosquito nets scandal

Kiptoo cited bureaucracies in the Health ministry for the delay in implementation of the Global Fund’s activities

In Summary
  • He claimed proper communication channels were not used in the process.
  • The PS at the same time disclosed that two manufacturers have been since been awarded the contract to supply the nets.
National Treasury PS Chris Kiptoo when he appeared before Public Debt and Privatisation Committee of the National Assembly on on March 6, 2023.
CASH CRUNCH: National Treasury PS Chris Kiptoo when he appeared before Public Debt and Privatisation Committee of the National Assembly on on March 6, 2023.
Image: FILE

Treasury has absolved itself from any blame in the cancellation of the Sh3.7 billion Global Fund mosquito nets tender even as it affirmed there were flaws in the communication process.

Appearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo said his ministry was not in way involved in determining the specifications of the long lasting insecticidal nets that were to be supplied to 22 specific counties.

"The Ministry of Health did the specifications, ours was only oversight over the funds," he submitted.

Kiptoo was responding to a question by committee chair Jackson Mandago who wanted to know the relationship between the ministries of Treasury and Health on the matter under probe.

While appearing to shift blame to his health counterpart, the PS claimed bureaucracies in the ministry is the reason for delay in implementation of the Global Fund’s activities.

He said proper communication channels were not used in the whole process citing a letter from a Global Fund coordinator to the Ministry of Health which he termed as unprocedural.

“What are the exact relations and how should the communication be?Does it mean in this situation the PS in charge of public health reports to the Treasury PS? ” Mandago asked.  

"If I was the PS, I would not have allowed that to happen. The coordinator should have responded to the Kenya medical supplies agency. It should have been PS to PS but these are the things that happen that time,” Kiptoo said.

The committee is seeking to ascertain circumstances that led to the cancellation of the tender.

The PS has, however, committed to address the faults identified in a bid restore the relations with the donor.

He said Kenya and South Africa are the only two countries that are still being allowed to manage the Global funds through its international institutions.

"We are rolling out e-procurement as  government's one way to seal such loopholes that arise in the process," he said.

The PS at the same time disclosed that two manufacturers have since been awarded the contract to supply the nets under the Global Fund polled mechanism website (

A to Z Textiles Mills and Tianjin Yorkool International Trading company, Kiptoo said, are among the 17 bidders for lucrative tender.

The organisation is said to have arrived at the decision after gaps were noted in the current procurement process and due to the urgency of obtaining the nets before its launch in November.

"The Global Fund had to move the procurement to with immediate effect since there was need to complete the LLINs mass campaign by June 2024, and due to the fact that a new international would be issued and would take time," said the PS.

Mandago in his statement was categorical that all those involved must bear full responsibility.

"We want to put the blame where it lies; the issue of generalisation must be put to an end,” he said.

Fund’s coordinator Stephen Muiruri told the committee that the government lost at least Sh74 million in the procurement process.

"We can only say the country lost two per cent of the total funds on procurement because what normally happens is that when Kemsa procures, it pays two per cent of the total costs of the nets," Muiruri said.

Out of the total cost, the agency is set to contribute three per cent for warehouses and another similar percentage for distribution.

The tender was canceled over what the body said was skewed procurement in favour of one of the bidders.

Muiruri who was responding to a question by Nyamira Senator Okong'o Omogeni said local suppliers may have beneficiaries.

He however said Kenya would still benefit from the programme which is open until June 2024.

The long-lasting polyethene and polyester nets were to be distributed from November this year to July next year as part of the mass malaria campaign.

Locally, the tender was floated in January this year but ran into headwinds soon after.

There is clear process to be followed in terms of communication before the procurement process is passed to Kemsa.

Suspended Kemsa CEO Terry Ramadhani pleaded with the committee to spare her of any wrongdoing in the scandal.

“It is my prayers that you may find it in your favour to vindicate me and allow me the reprieve to continue with my career record,” she said in her submission.

Health CS Susan Nakhumicha suspended her alongside other staff members serving within the Ministry of Health, National Malaria Programme and Kemsa on May 15.

Those suspended are Martin Wamwea, Lenson Kariuki, Pauline Duya, Livingstone Njuguna, and Charles Kariuki Chege who were serving under the MoH National Malaria Programme.

The CS has appointed Andrew Mutava Mulwa as the acting CEO.

Mulwa who had appeared on behalf of the board chair Irungu Nyakeira had to be turned away.

Warning against taking the matter lightly, Mandago put the chairperson on notice for snubbing the invite.

“In the absence of the board, I am afraid we are not going to continue. When the committee invites the board they must attend. He is my friend but tell him when it comes to the committee business I have a responsibility to deliver,” he warned.

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