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Officials flag off medical supplies from KEMSA Headquarters in July 2018.

Kenya

EACC detectives raid KEMSA in COVID-19 funds probe

NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 9 – Investigations into the multi-billion shillings COVID-19 scandal at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) intensified Wednesday, with a major raid at its headquarters in Nairobi.

Detectives from EACC spent hours at the KEMSA offices in Industrial Area where they carted away documents and files to facilitate the investigation.

EACC is investigating how tenders to supply COVID-19 kits worth billions were dished out to companies associated to politicians and influential businessmen, some who never supplied.

Already, KEMSA Chief Executive Officer Jonah Manjari and top Procurement and Finance officials are on suspension over the matter.

“The raid was conducted very early in the morning and the agency is keen to find the truth,” said EACC Spokesman Yassin Amaro.

Among top officials questioned in the investigations so far is KEMSA Board Chairman Kembi Gitura, board members and select staff with knowledge of how the tenders were issued or paid for.

Jubilee Vice Chairperson David Murathe was also questioned last week, and demanded that detectives also question Deputy President William Ruto over alleged links to a company at the centre of the investigations in the COVID-19 tenders.

On Friday, Murathe told journalists that he had asked detectives at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to question all the people mentioned in the scandal, including Ruto.

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Murathe admits knowing directors of Kilig, with whom he has done other businesses with before, but denies having anything to do with them on the KEMSA tenders.

According to Murathe, Kilig won a tender to supply kits to KEMSA through a commitment letter which was later canceled.

“I know at some point when they were unable to secure financing for the importation of the kits which they had a committed letter from KEMSA,” he told journalists after recording a statement at the EACC.

Murathe says Kilig directors had transfered their shares to people he refers to as “known partners of the Deputy President” and that is why he also wants him summoned to record a statement.

On his social media posts, the Deputy President denies any involvement of the KEMSA scandal, and has been calling for those responsible to held accountable.

“I know they (Kilig Directors) transferred their shareholding to persons who are known partners of the Deputy President. So I came here (at EACC) to present this information and that evidence today, and I am expecting very soon that they will be calling the DP to come and make his statement in regards of what he knows about the association of his partners with Kilig.”

Murathe says that since he record a statement as a person known to the Kilig directors, Ruto too should be called to write a statement.

“Because I am being dragged into this issue because of my association with Gatei, we have evidence that he transferred his shares to associates of the DP,” he said, “I have given my piece and I have demanded that everybody who have commented or purported to know anything about the COVID billionaires should be summoned, starting with the Deputy President.”

EACC is investigating how tenders worth billions were dished out to firms by KEMSA, some irregularly, with particular interest in Kilig and others.

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While Manjari claimed that he was acting on instructions of Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe and Principal Secretary Susan Mochache, the two denies and have challenged him to produce hard evidence.

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