By Mohammed Mohamud
Residents of Wajir County may have gotten a raw deal in the procurement of Covid-19 supplies worth Sh105.2 Million by the county government.
A report by the auditor general reveals that the COVID-19 budget provided for audit during the 2019/2020 financial year, did not indicate the specific details of the items to be purchased and the estimates. As a result, it was difficult to link the implementation of the COVID-19 funds with the budget.
The report also indicates that there was no evidence of a market survey conducted to inform the placing of orders or adjudication by the relevant committee.
For instance, one of the contracted companies supplied 6,250 boxes of surgical face masks at Sh3,992 per box. This was Sh1,892 more than the average price of one box of surgical masks, based on a market price index survey published by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority in October 2020.
Furthermore, residents of Wajir County may have lost Sh1.8 million in the supply of face masks. County managers awarded a tender of 2,000 packs of N95 face masks at a unit price of Sh995. However, a review of store records revealed that only 200 N95 face masks were delivered.
The report further flags two companies that were awarded with contracts. One of the two companies was less than one year old since incorporation, while the other one was one year and three months old, a clear indication that the suppliers had no qualification to supply the stores.
In addition, an examination of tender evaluation minutes revealed that three other companies were given a maximum score of 10/10 for past experience. However, a review of the company’s profiles reveals that the bidders had not done similar works before.
“The tenders were awarded to private companies for supply of drugs and medical supplies instead of Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA),” says the report.
The law provides that a national or county public health facility shall, in procurement and distribution of drugs and medical supplies, obtain all such drugs and medical supplies from the
Authority subject to (a) the drug being duly registered by the Board; and (b) the drugs and medical supplies meet the standards of quality and are efficacious as authorised by the Board.
Notably, queries have also been raised regarding the county’s utilisation of other funds allocated to the health sector. In this line, the health sector is among Wajir county’s key beneficiaries with a projected allocation of almost Sh5 billion between 2018 and 2022.