Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has ordered Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) to release medical equipment lying in their warehouses at the current market price.
Appearing before a Senate Health Committee, the minister said he had directed the state agency to release the face masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).
“I have written to Kemsa to allow to release masks and PPEs at the current market rate instead of holding them,” he said.
Narok senator Ledama Olekina on his part wondered who would take responsibility for the losses incurred after the agency purchased equipment at exorbitant prices.
“Why can’t these items be returned back to the suppliers because some of them have not been paid for,” he said.
CS Kagwe said the initial prices were set when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit Kenya.
“The global prices of all those things were the prices Kemsa bought them at,” he responded.
In August, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Global Fund threatened to withdraw Ksh400 billion meant for Kenya, following graft allegations in Kemsa.
According to reports, the two bodies expressed concerns with the government over the misappropriations of donor funds meant for Covid-19.
The Global Fund and USAID had earmarked the billions for the support HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria programs for the next three years.
Kemsa is said to have procured N95 (1860) masks at an outrageous price of Ksh1,300 per piece against the Ksh700 market price and ordered 5000 pieces.
At the same time, it also bought KN95 masks at Ksh700 per piece against the market price of Ksh450, went ahead and ordered 1,836,400 masks.
Disposable masks that are sold at the market price of Ksh50 per piece were also procured at Ksh90 each.
The allegations saw its CEO Jonah Manjari sent packing.