Parliamentary Public Investment Committee (PIC) has summoned the directors of the little known company, Shop ‘N’ Buy, for its involvement in the Kemsa scandal.
The directors declined to appear before the committee on Tuesday.
The company was awarded a Sh1 billion tender to supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) only a month after being registered.
The company, owned by James Cheluley, was registered on February 14, 2020 and was awarded the lucrative tender a day after he sought to supply the government agency with the medical equipment.
In December while appearing before the Senate Health Committee, Cheluley said he had never worked with Kemsa and only learned about the tender through other companies he had worked with prior.
Shortly after, Cheluley told the lawmakers, he wrote a letter of intent on April 29, and was issued with a committed letter the next day.
The parties involved did not sign a contract neither were there any price negotiations. He supplied Kemsa with PPEs and masks worth Sh970 million.
Members of the committee wondered how he (Cheluley) raised the capital in such a short time.
“You can tell us, did you have any political connections or linkages with Kemsa bosses for you to be able to supply goods of such quantities?” posed Narok senator Ledama Olekina.
Ledama and his Kisumu counterpart Fred Outa sought to find out what sort of magic the Shop ‘N’ Buy proprietor had used to bag the tender.
“We have to understand this magic. For you to provide goods worth a billion, you have shown a history of being capable, even for any bank to loan you or you had all these amounts in cash.”
But according to Cheluley, his connections in China enabled him to supply the materials even without paying for the goods first.
“There is no magic. I have suppliers who are still waiting for their money from China. What we did is that with the little resources we had between me and other partnering companies, we made a deposit to our supplies in China, who trusted us,” he told the legislators who accused him of “hiding something from us”.
“In fact, we showed them a commitment letter from Kemsa, which acted as our bond. This enabled us to get the goods.”
Shop ‘N’ Buy is among 50 other companies being investigated by the EACC for the scandal that shocked the country.