Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
The country might lose Sh7 billion meant for the acquisition of 37 CT scanners arising from double tendering. It has emerged that the Ministry of Health went ahead and issued a fresh tender for the procurement of the scanners yet this had been budgeted for in the acquisition of Medical Equipment Services (MES) at a cost of Sh4.5 billion.
Health Principal Secretary Peter Tum admitted the scanners were supposed to be part of the MES equipment that were procured.
“Yes the CT scans are part of the family of imaging machines and a CT scanner should be one of them,” the PS told a parliamentary committee yesterday.
The details emerged yesterday following revelations that the deal between Kenya and China saw the Kenyan government pay Sh1.7 billion to finance the acquisition of scanners and the remainder of Sh7 billion was paid by the Chinese government as part of a loan to Kenya, with the entire cost for the equipment put at Sh8.4 billion.
The Health ministry, it was revealed, approved payment of Sh1.7 billion which was enough to procure all the machines without the loan from China.
The ministry is also on the spot over how 89 portable clinics, which were part of the 100 provided by Estama Investments Limited at a cost of Sh1 billion, are yet to be distributed to Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu, three years after they were procured.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Ugunja legislator Opiyo Wandayi was told the transaction was initiated by then PS for Health (now Lands PS) Nicholas Muraguri and that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) was already investigating the matter.
The clinics, PAC heard, were procured yet the ministry had only Sh200 million.
So far, the government has paid Sh800,000 for the equipment that are still lying idle at National Youth Service depot in Mombasa.
As for the scanners, the House committee demanded that National Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich and former Health CS Cleopa Mailu appear before it. The MPs also sought to know why the CT scans were omitted in the procurement of MES yet it is in the family of imaging machine that were supposed to be procured.
The procured MES equipment include theatre equipment, theater CS equipment, laboratory, renal ICU and radiology equipment.
But in a special audit report, Auditor General Edward Ouko said payment for the MES was confirmed by completion certificate instead of inspection and acceptance committee reports.
Companies given the tender to supply the MES equipment include Shenzen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronic Company Limited, Esteem Industry, Bellco Srl, General Electric East Africa Services Limited and Philips East Africa Limited.
“Payment vouchers were supported with completion certificates signed by Morang’a Morekwa, chairman of the MES project implementation committee instead of inspection and acceptance committee reports,” reads the report in part.
Appearing before the committee to shed light on the 2015/16 financial year, Tum said installation of the scanners is ongoing with Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital expected to benefit.
He also defended the unit cost saying the Sh8.4 billion includes other components such as construction of new building, furniture, air conditioners, generators, special Thermal Film Printer, injector, warranty and spare parts.
“So far, we have procured 37 CT scanners at a cost of Sh8.4 billion this was a government-to-government agreement between Kenyan and China,” he said.
But immediately he was done, MPs demanded to know how the deal was brokered with some of them demanding that the Attorney General give legal opinion on how the Chinese companies are able to win tenders worth billions of shillings and raised concerns over loss of lots of funds in the deal which was initially in the Sh4 billion MES procurement.
Wandayi claimed that certain individuals in the ministry planned and orchestrated the whole issue to ensure that they benefitted from the scanners.
Mavoko MP Patrick Makau said former Health PS Julius Korir is supposed to be in jail over the procurement of the scanners while Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu demanded to know why the ministry paid for the MES and scans yet there was no budget for it.
He also sought clarification on why the ministry opted to buy, instead of leasing, which was a cheaper option.