The Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) has floated 53 tenders only since January 2021 and has signed 25 contracts.
The number is too small compared to 306 contracts signed last year worth over Ksh10 billion, with contracts worth over Ksh7 billion still under investigation for alleged fraudulent tendering.
The contracts signed so far are worth Ksh795.3 million, with fewer suppliers applying for contracts floated by the state agency.
Of all the tenders floated by KEMSA this year, only about 10 have been posted on the Public Procurement Information Portal (PIIP).
For the few posted on the PIIP, details are scanty on the bidders who applied for the tenders, making it an uphill task for public scrutiny.
In some of the tenders, only one supplier applied, like in the case of the supply of TB medicines.
In August 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Ministry of Health to have all tenders by the Kemsa to be published online for transparency purposes.
“The ministry should come up with a transparent, open method through which tenders done by Kemsa are available online…so that we can see who has awarded the tender and who was evaluated among others,” said the head of state during a virtual Covid-19 conference on August 31, 2020.
“This is an issue to all government procurement departments.. we need to work together …Kenyan people have a right to know how their funds are being utilised,” he said.
A special audit by the Auditor General Nancy Gathangu tabled before a Senate committee last year revealed that Kemsa management colluded with companies that won the lucrative tenders, currently under investigation.
The auditor noted that some of the companies were established between January and February 2020.
“We established circumstances where Companies that had been in existence for less than one year, were awarded contracts to supply Covid-19 e.g Kilig Ltd and Shop ‘N’ Buy Ltd were registered on January 22, 2020, and February 14, 2020 yet they were awarded contracts,” Gathangu said.
According to Ms Gathangu, the Sh6.3 billion equipment lay idle in the authority’s warehouses as of September 2020.
The report also shows that the Kemsa management used monies meant for the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for the procurement of the equipment without the approval of the Ministry of Health.