KEMSA Scandal: President Ruto Sacks PS Josephine Mburu, CEO Terry Ramadhani Suspended

Written by on 16 May 2023

President William Ruto has sacked Dr. Josephine Mburu as the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health’s State Department for Public Health and Professional Standards.

Dr. Mburu has been sent home over a bungled procurement process handled by the Ministry of Heath that left the country on the verge of losing a Ksh.3.7 billion worth of anti-Malaria nets from the Global Fund.

In a statement issued on Monday, Head of  Public Service Felix Koskei also announced that President Ruto has also revoked the appointments of the Chairperson and Members of the Board of Directors of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) which was responsible for the flawed procurement process.

Consequently, the Head of State has appointed Mr. Irungu Nyakera as the Chairperson of the Board in accordance with the procedure set out under Section 5(1) (a) of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority Act. 

“The alleged maladministration on the part of KEMSA is with regard to the procurement of treated mosquito nets for those vulnerable households, which could have led to significant exposure to the disease and increase in its severity in the endemic regions,” reads the statement in part.

Following the disbandment of the board, Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has appointed new members to the KEMSA board. They include; Hezbon Oyieko Omollo, Bernard Kipkirui Bett, Dr. Jane Masiga and Jane Nyagaturi Mbatia.

KEMSA CEO Terry Ramadhani has also been suspended over the anti-mosquito nets scandal.

Ramadhani has been suspended alongside other staffers within the Ministry of Health (MOH) National Malaria Programme and KEMSA. They include Martin Wamwea (MOH), Lenson Kariuki (MOH), Dr. Pauline Duya (MOH), Livingstone Njuguna (MOH), Dr. Charles Kariuki Chege (MOH), Justus Kinoti (KEMSA), Cosmas Rotich (KEMSA) and Anthony Chege (KEMSA). 

At the same  time the CS has appointed Dr. Andrew Mutava Mulwa as the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) 
Global Fund had floated a tender worth Ksh.3.7 billion for the supply of 10.2 million long-lasting polyethylene and polyester nets to be distributed from November this year to July next year as part of the fight against Malaria mass campaign.

Locally the tender was floated in January this year, but ran into headwinds soon after with the Ministry of Health and the Global Fund clashing on the specifications of the nets to be delivered, resulting in an amendment of the tender and the extension of the same.

A total of 17 bids were received, with five making the cut according to the evaluating committee. However, a review of the tenders by the Global Fund showed that the five bids were not qualified.

Indeed, only two companies, Tianjin Yorkool and Premium Movers, who were deemed unfit by the tenders evaluation committee should have made the cut, while Vka Polymers pvt, Shobikaa Impex, and Partec East Africa, which were ranked as qualified should have been disqualified for incomplete pagination.

The Global Fund in its final assessment of the tenders submitted that the two bids assessed as responsive — Shobikaa for polyethylene nets and Partec East for polyester nets — failed to meet the mandatory documentation requirement and should not have proceeded to the technical, financial and post qualification phase. The tender did not yield responsive bids.

The bungled procurement process forced the Global Fund to cancel the tender and offer it directly to its own procurement wing in a move that is expected to see Kenya lose hundreds of millions of shillings in funding.

If the tender had been handled by Kenya, KEMSA would have received 2% or Ksh.74 million as part of the procurement fee, and 8% or Ksh.295 million as warehousing and distribution charges.

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