Editorials

Prosecute persons linked to Kemsa Covid scandal

Kemsa offices

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority's offices in Industrial Area, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The MPs have asked the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) to trace and hold cars, homes, land, and bank accounts tied to the proceeds of the questionable procurement at this government agency.
  • According to the PIC, 110 companies that supplied Kemsa got excess payment in contracts where prices were inflated. Only two firms got the procurement codes right.

The Public Investments Committee of the National Assembly has added its voice to the investigations of Covid-19 merchandise procurement at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) where the spending of more than Sh7 billion has been questioned.

The MPs have asked the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) to trace and hold cars, homes, land, and bank accounts tied to the proceeds of the questionable procurement at this government agency.

According to the PIC, 110 companies that supplied Kemsa got excess payment in contracts where prices were inflated. Only two firms got the procurement codes right.

The Public Procurement Regulatory Authority found a Sh40 paracetamol was acquired at Sh66.50 and that there was no evidence that Kemsa used the price index it got from the market.

The PIC has also asked the Kenya Revenue Authority to assess whether the Covid-19 suppliers paid the taxes due; previously the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission cited “criminal” behaviour in this buying. Among other things, these investigations point to misbehaviour in the execution of the contracts, presenting the saga as a case ripe for prosecution.

We urge other government agencies that are involved in the probe to also move faster with the aim of delivering justice to the taxpayer.

More importantly, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions ought to start piecing together cases against people implicated in the syndicate using the volumes of evidence that are coming from the investigating agencies.

We urge a speedy prosecution and punishment since this is the looting that happened when the pandemic was decimating the economy through infections, deaths, and business shutdowns. It exposed millions of people to untold misery and pain.

Among other wrongs, this Kemsa scandal is akin to joining forces with the virus to send people to the grave while leaving the economy unstable.