Controversial COVID-19 tenders result in suspension of KEMSA top bosses

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 14 Aug, 2020 15:06 | < 1 min read
Suspended KEMSA CEO Jonah Manjari. [PHOTO | FILE]
Suspended KEMSA CEO Jonah Manjari. [PHOTO | FILE]
Suspended KEMSA CEO Jonah Manjari. [PHOTO | FILE]

The Board of the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) has suspended CEO Jonah Manjari, procurement chief Chales Juma and commercial director Eliud Muriithi over alleged embezzlement of funds and procurement irregularities.

The Board chairperson, Kembi Gitura, says the suspension of the three top bosses allows for the anti-graft agency, EACC, to conduct investigations into the alleged wrongdoings.

CEO Manjari will be replaced in acting capacity by Edward Njoroge Mureithi, whereas procurement boss Juma will hand over, on a temporary basis, to Edward Buluma. Commercial director Muriithi’s place will be taken up by Dr George Walukana.

Gitura, who addressed journalists at the KEMSA Head Office at Commercial Street in Industrial Area, Nairobi on Friday, August 14, said the trio’s replacement assumes office with immediate effect, and that they will be in acting capacity for six months.

"We met this morning for a special board meeting to deliberate on a number of issues especially on COVID-19, and the recent happenings at the Authority. We have had to take hard decisions," said Gitura.

“As you are aware KEMSA has been on the radar of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for some time now. So this morning, we have resolved to suspend three of the top managers to allow EACC to continue with its investigations,” added Gitura.

"Take note that this is only a suspension and not stepping aside," he said.

The suspensions come on the back of allegations that KEMSA irregularly awarded tenders for the emergency procurement of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to scrupulous people and companies amounting to at least Ksh7.7 billion.