NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 2 – Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji has recommended further investigations in the Sh7.8 billion COVID-19 procurement scandal at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).
Haji said he has sent back the investigations file to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) after identifying gaps that need to be covered for effective prosecution.
“The team identified key areas that need to be sufficiently covered by way of further investigations before a final decision can be made,” he said in a statement Friday.
“Having carefully analysed the report by the team and considering the requirements for a strong and successful prosecution, I have come to the conclusion that the identified areas should be covered by the EACC,” read part of a statement posted on the ODPP’s social media page.
Prosecutors had been analysing recommendations from EACC which were submitted to the DPP two weeks ago.
Haji said prosecutors from his office will now work closely with EACC detectives in addressing the gaps before he approves charges.
Last week, the Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu, on Wednesday presented to the Senate Joint Committee on Health and ad hoc Committee on COVID-19, a Special Audit Report on the utilization of COVID-19 funds by KEMSA. My office has not officially received the audit report; once it does, it will be taken into consideration,” Haji stated.
A report submitted to the Parliamentary Health Committee last week by Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu notes that at least four firms that got paid, in a supplies frenzy had only existed less than six months.
According to the preliminary Auditor-General’s report, the companies were awarded contracts worth Sh1.3 billion by KEMSA to deliver items that were not covered by the state agency’s 2019/20 approved budget as of June 4, 2020.
“KEMSA used the Direct Procurement method to source for COVID -19 related items. It was noted that commitment letters were issued to suppliers and then the procurement process was to follow after deliveries were made,” the auditor report details.
“We established circumstances where Companies that had been in existence for less than one year, were awarded contracts to supply COVID-19 items,” it adds.
It is understood that the EACC had recommended charges against six top officials at KEMSA, including Chief Executive Officer Jonah Manjari and the Head of Procurement Charles Juma for flouting the law in awarding tenders worth billions at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.