Posted September 11, 2020 1:28 pm by

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 11- A consortium of rights organizations has petitioned Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani to institute measures that will ensure transparency and accountability in how COVID-19 funds are utilized.

Led by Transparency International Kenya Executive Director Sheila Masinde, officials from the organizations said they were concerned at gaps in transparency and accountability by government agencies charged with managing COVID-19 resources.

“These loopholes have led to overpricing of commodities, purchase of substandard Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), embezzlement of commodities including donated PPEs, failure of the PPEs to reach those who need them the most including healthcare workers on the frontline of fighting COVID-19, and misappropriation of public funds meant to procure protective gear,” the Consortium said in a statement.

The organizations recommended that the National Treasury in the spirit of conforming to the Presidential directive of having an online publication of all procurement should issue a policy directive in the next 30 days that allows the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority to recommend sanctions against procuring entities that fail to comply.

“Procurement data should be published in the required state portal www.tenders.go.ke by 30th September 2020, as per the Presidential Directive and on an independent COVID-19 Kenya Portal that conforms to the international open contracting data standards. That in consultations with the Office of the President, the Executive Order No. 2 of 2018 is modified to include requirements for procuring entities to publish emergency and urgent need procurement data within a specified timeline to promote transparency and accountability in the event of an emergency,” they said.

Further, the organization wants the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority to publish emergency procurement guidelines within 30 days to guide urgent need procurement processes which should include guidance on the publication of procurement data including the timelines of publication.

The petition follows corruption allegations in the management of COVID-19 funds at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) whose top officials are under investigations.

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