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Economy

Kagwe denies role in Kemsa Covid-19 supplies cost inflation

Mr Mutahi Kagwe
Mr Mutahi Kagwe. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Health ministry Cabinet Secretary has refuted claims that he directed the Kemsa management to procure Covid-19 materials from select companies at exorbitant prices.

Mr Mutahi Kagwe and his Principle Secretary (PS) Susan Mochache told Parliament that whereas he exerted pressure on CEOs of institutions that directly handle Covid-19, he did not direct anyone to break procurement laws and award specific companies’ lucrative tenders.

He said the role of a CS is to provide policy directions to institutions under the ministry.

“Indeed I put pressure on all institutions under my ministry if we were to be successful against this fight. If I told any CEO to do something against the law, they should have asked that the directions be put in writing in line with the constitutional requirements,” Mr Kagwe told the Health committee.

“It is my job to put people under pressure to produce results. It is not my job to tell anybody to commit any crime,” Mr Kagwe said.

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Mr Kagwe and Ms Mochache were responding to claims by suspended Kemsa CEO Jonah Manjari that the ministry exerted pressure to expedite the award of tenders for procurement of Covid-19 supplies.

Mr Manjari had earlier told a joint Senate Health and Ad Hoc committee on Covid-19 that he received requests from Mr Kagwe and Ms Mochache to award tenders to certain companies.

“At no time did the ministry submit a list of suppliers where Kemsa should source materials from. They gave us the list which we rationalised and approved,” Ms Mochache said.

She said Kemsa bought goods worth Sh2.1 billion when the ministry approved Sh758 million procurement.

Parliament is investigating how Kemsa procured goods worth Sh7.2 billion without the approval of its board and the Health ministry.

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