The government has received 170 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds that were part of a 500 batch that had been procured last year from local artisans following the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.
Interior Principal Secretary Karancha led a government delegation that received the beds at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on Wednesday.
The PS said the beds will be distributed to 14 counties with an urgent demand.
He noted that other counties will share out the remaining 330 beds which will be delivered progressively.
The beds were delivered two months after the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU), which had been tasked by President Uhuru Kenyatta to purchase the beds in July last year, revealed that the plan did not materialise.
In a statement in January this year, PDU Secretary Andrew Wakahiu said the process of procuring the beds came to a sudden stop after the procurement team found out that one of the innovators was facing “several criminal allegations.”
According to Wakahiu, Mungai Gathogo, 26, was facing at least three cases related to fraud and obtaining money by pretence.
He noted that records at Githunguri police station indicate Gathogo has at least three pending criminal cases: OB 35/05/11/2019 and OB 64/05/11/2019 relating to obtaining money by false pretence and OB 51/21/10/2020 relating to an incident over the disappearance of a motor vehicle he had allegedly hired.
Wakahiu further revealed that wrangles around the ownership of the firm that had first claimed to have been behind the beds further informed the Government reluctance to process the offer.
“After we visited and made the offer, then vicious arguments on the control and management of the company between the two innovators and a man who claimed to be the real owner of the firm and that he had only contracted the duo to help market the beds emerged,” he said.
In photos seen by this writer, Gathogo is among businessmen who delivered the 170 ICU beds today.
The PDU boss was forced to issue the statement after Gathogo and 35-year-old Joseph Muhinja, who had been contracted to deliver the ICU beds, accused the government of having hoodwinked them.
The two businessmen claimed to have suffered huge losses in loans after the government failed to buy their beds as pledged.
“In interviews with the media and their social media pages, Gathogo and his colleague, Joseph Muhinja, have claimed to have incurred loans of more than Ksh3.5 million ostensibly to import materials for the beds and in training and recruiting of labour. But at their workshop yesterday, there was little evidence of any activities,” Wakahiu added.
PDU is yet to issue a clarification on the change of heart but pressure from Kenyans and leaders led Kiambu Woman Rep Gathoni wa Muchomba must have informed the latest move.
Gathoni had pleaded with the government not to shelve plans to buy the beds from the innovators.
“If you expect to find young men from Kiambu who have no history of visiting police station, you’ll work very hard because our men, most of the times, will find themselves in police stations because of many problems and we don’t put them in the trenches. We try and rehabilitate them,” the legislator said.