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Economy

Taxpayers paid 6 times more for GE hospital machine

Moses Wetang’ula
Moses Wetang’ula, the vice-chairman of the ad-hoc Senate committee investigating the Managed Equipment Services, during the hearings on Nov 25, 2019. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA 

Taxpayers have paid Sh23.4 million for every ultra-sound machine supplied by GE East Africa Services to counties under the Managed Equipment Services (MES).

The Senate ad-hoc committee investigating MES said that a check on medicalpriceonline.com showed this is more than six times the cost of an ultra-sound Logiq f8 machine that goes for about Sh3.15 million ($31, 474) in the market.

Sonographic essential mammography, mainly used to screen breast cancer, cost Sh62.98 million ($629,729) or four times more than its market price of Sh15.67 million ($156, 666), according to the price check.

The two are part of the Sh24.01 billion where GE East Africa has sub-contracted local firm, Seven Seas Technologies to supply the kits to 96 hospitals across the 47 counties.

GE East Africa Services was one of the firms contracted by the State to supply specialised medical kits to the counties for treatment and management of diseases like cancer and diabetes at a cost of Sh38.7 billion.

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“The equipment was sold to Kenyan hospitals at exorbitant prices. GE East Africa and its sub-contractors are also to table contractual documents to prove they got the deal procedurally,” Fatuma Dullo, the committee chairperson, said on Wednesday.

Mrs Dullo, also the Senator for Isiolo, said that majority of the kits supplied to 19 counties lie idle due to lack of water, electricity and lack of trained personnel to operate them.

GE executives were turned away by the Senate committee after they failed to provide documents linked to the medical leasing equipment deal.

The State rolled out MES in 2015 to lease theatre equipment, renal kits, ICU equipment and radiology equipment to the counties for specialised treatment for ailments such as cancer and diabetes in a deal running up to 2021.

The other firms contracted were Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics Limited, Esteem Industries, Bellco SRL, and Phillips East Africa Limited.

Counties will pay Sh131.9 million in the year to June 2020 for the leases, down from Sh200 million they paid in the 2018/19 period.

Each of the devolved units paid Sh95.7 million for the kits every year in 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18.

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