The Senate Ad Hoc Committee that investigated the controversial Sh63 billion Managed Equipment Service (MES) scheme has termed the deal as a criminal enterprise shrouded in opaque procurement processes and aimed at benefitting a few commercial interests.
In a damning report tabled before the Senate on Tuesday, September 8, the committee said though the MES project was a public interest venture that was intended to benefit taxpayers, the persons involved in the conceptualization and implementation of the MES project from start to finish, implemented the project in a manner that violated the very Constitution and the sacred principles that the project was originally conceived under.
The committee, chaired by Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo, observed that whereas the implementation of the MES project may have been well intended, it provided an opportunity for some officers to defraud the public.
In some instances, the committee disclosed procurements were done so as to advance private commercial interests that were supply-driven rather than needs at the expense of the Kenyan public and in contravention of Article 201.
“This is demonstrated in the conceptualization, initiation, procurement processes, contracting, and pricing of the goods and services. MES project was not lucky in this regard” the committee said its 253-page document Adding that MES project was not lucky in this regard.
“The entire procurement process in the MES project from the conceptualization of the project to its implementation is shrouded with secrecy and smells of irregularities and illegalities,” it adds.
The committee recommended that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) investigates the allegations raised in the report and takes appropriate action within ninety (90) days and report to the Senate on action taken.
“Some of the issues raised during the inquiry manifest clear incidences of maladministration or criminal conduct. Where allegations are made of a criminal nature, it may be the case that due to the Committee’s limited mandate, the Committee may not make conclusive findings,” the committee held.
The MES project was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on February 6, 2015, with the Ministry of Health entering into a partnership with five foreign firms who were mandated to provide specialized medical equipment.
However, the Council of Governors had opposed the project, saying that county governments were not consulted in the tendering process.