The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) is caught up in yet another graft scandal, with health financing organization Global Fund cancelling a Ksh3.7 billion tender for the supply of mosquito nets intended for low-income households in the country.
10.2 million treated mosquito nets were to be supplied by the winning bidder. Global Fund is reportedly demanding action against officials responsible for the tender’s cancellation which also cost Kemsa Ksh370 million in revenue.
Counties that were lined up to benefit from the Global Fund-financed mosquito nets include Baringo, Kirinyaga, Marsabit, Turkana, Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa, Lamu, Tana River, Siaya, Kisumu, Migori, Busia, Nyamira, Kisii, Uasin Gishu, West Pokot, Narok, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Taita Taveta, Elgeyo Marakwet and Homa Bay.
Global Fund cancelled the Kemsa procurement process which, according to a new report by Nation, seemed skewed to favour of a bidder who failed to meet mandatory requirements.
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A China-based mosquito nets manufacturer is said to have satisfied requirements under Global Fund procurement guidelines as well as Kenya’s procurement laws but was knocked out anyway, leading to the cancellation.
Kemsa has been struggling to clean up its image in the past few years, with a string of scandals causing donors to demand better governance at the State corporation.
In March 2022, it emerged that an audit by the Global Fund found that 908,000 mosquito nets, 1.1 million condoms and Sh10 million tuberculosis (TB) medicines disappeared from the agency’s warehouse. The supplies are believed to have been stolen and resold on the black market, especially to private chemists. The fund also questioned suspicious demands for payments totalling Ksh1.66 billion by ghost suppliers.
Kemsa has been fightįng to regain public confidence since the uncovering of the ‘Covid Billionaires’ scandąl at the height of the pandemic in 2020. The procurement scam which cost Kenyan taxpayers billions of shillings saw KEMSA procure supplies including PPEs and other Covid-19 related supplies at hugely inflated rates from shadowy companies.