Two-month-old firm won Sh1bn Kemsa tenders

Traders who supplied items worth billions of shillings to the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority had a difficult time on Thursday trying to justify how they won lucrative tenders.

The National Assembly’s Health committee met three suppliers as it emerged some companies with no history of doing business in Kenya won tenders amounting to millions of shillings.

The companies included Megascope Health care (K) Ltd, Crown Healthcare (K) Ltd and Shop N Buy Limited.

The committee chaired by Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege was meeting suppliers over the Jack Ma Foundation Covid-19 supplies donation – which is missing – and the supply of other Covid-related items.

MPs heard that Shop N Buy Limited won Sh1 billion tenders despite being in existence for only two months.

The firm which supplied face masks and other supplies was registered in February 2020  and by March the firm was picked by the agency to supply items running into vast sums.

Chege’s committee questioned how the eight-week-old company managed to win the tenders.

“In just the two months you have incorporated yourself, you are winning tenders worth millions. What was your contact with Kemsa? How did Kemsa get to know of you?” Seme MP James Nyikal, a committee member, asked.

But Shop N Buy CEO James Chelule defended himself saying like any other company he applied and was considered for the plum contract.

He denied claims that he was favoured, saying his company had already established itself in the sector as he was supplying Covid-19 items to some of Kemsa’s more than 60 suppliers.

“Before I supplied to Kemsa, I was already supplying to my clients who were supplying to Kemsa,” Chelule said.

He confirmed Kemsa owes him Sh930 million after supplying the agency with the masks.

Medical technologies and services giant Megascope Healthcare wants Parliament to protect private businesses from what they termed mob lynching from certain members of the public.

Megascope CEO Richard Ngatia told MPs his company has been unfairly linked to the mess at Kemsa when all it did was honest business to help the government fight the pandemic.

He denied claims his company was among the private clearing firms that participated in clearing Jack Ma’s donation.

“Megascope has never been registered as clearing agent of any sort and we have no mandate to clear,” he said.

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