Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe was given the task yesterday to explain why it took so long to respond to the National Treasury’s report on spending by the Kenya Medicines Distribution Authority (Kemsa).
Appearing before the Parliamentary Commission on Public Investment (PIC), led by Deputy Warlord Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir, CS wondered why it did not take immediate action when it received the report, which indicated that the ministry had exceeded budget requirements. .
The committee also wanted to know why it took the Treasury intervention to reveal how much the agency has spent despite the health ministry having an alternative board member in Kemsa who is expected to share the reports with his CS.
Lawmakers wanted to know how communication within the ministry worked if indeed the health boss was in the dark despite the fact that his representative on the board attended board meetings regularly.
“Were you not informed of what was going on in Kemsa despite having a representative, which is why Kenyans had to wait for the Treasury to report on spending issues?” Asked Wajir-Est MP Amin Rashid Kassim.
Ali did not understand why the ministry did not see all the decay in Kemsa and did not inform the public in time.
He wondered if SC was interested and had proper consultation with its coronavirus officers and guidance on how to handle the situation.
Lawmakers said they did not understand why, despite various board meetings, the SC had never been notified that there was a problem and that it took an insider to reveal exactly what was going on.
According to Kagwe’s investigation, the ministry was aware of the matter through a letter accusing Kemsa of misuse.
The Treasury letter reached the ministry on June 22, 2020, and no action was taken until after August 27. “Is it fair for Kenyans that six months later the ministry did not know exactly what was going on in Kemsa?” Asked Mandera deputy Est Hassan Omar.
“I see this as sleeping on your job. “Since you waited for the Treasury to report that there was a problem, you are the right person to identify such problems,” Rashid alleged. He added: “I see this lack of leadership and governance on the part of SCs.”
But in his response, CS said it was not his responsibility to monitor the organizations that he is running.
He said his ministry could not and did not control Kemsa. “We are only providing guidelines and political structures of the ministry. The Treasury authorities and that is why they insisted on it,” he confirmed.
He realizes, however, that there was a problem with Kemsa and the ministry is determined to make it a better agent. “We know we have problems and we will solve them,” he promised.]
Kagwe has also been criticized for insisting that the losses incurred by Kemsa were the result of lower commodity prices.
Kagwe revealed that the agency was owed a tax of R2.9 billion, but said this would be completed once all remaining goods were sold and the balance remained to be paid.
“Prices for many products have now dropped due to the country’s growing supply of supplies. However, not only did Kemsa increase its prices last year, other private institutions also increased their prices. This must happen and many institutions will feel the same pain and suffer the same losses, ”he explained.
His response impressed the President, who stated: “During the inspection, most of the goods were still in the warehouses. Some government agencies in their bids indicated that it was possible to buy the same items at a lower price and many chose not to buy from Kemsa because their prices were too high, “he noted.
“It is too early for us to say that the reason we are experiencing these losses is that old prices were high. Losses are created by greed. Some vendors had regrets from Kemsa and went to distribute the same items to other actors and Kemsa got the same items from these parties, “he added.