Posted September 1, 2020 1:28 pm by

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 1- United States Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter has welcomed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order to have all COVID-19 procurement tender by the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) published online.

This follows an ongoing investigation at KEMSA after allegations of massive corruption in which officials and influential business people are accused of stealing millions of shillings meant for COVID-19 supplies.

“Transparency is a very good thing. It will pay dividends for the public and help donors & friends like #USAMarafiki show good stewardship,” McCarter tweeted, Tuesday a day after the President gave KEMSA 30 days to put up transparency measures in its procurement systems.

President Kenyatta last week ordered the investigative agencies to finalise a probe on the alleged loss of funds at KEMSA in three weeks.

And as a result of the investigation, KEMSA’s Chief Executive Officer Jonah Manjari and other four officials were suspended.

Manjari was questioned last week by the Senate Health committee, in which he claimed that he by-passed procurement regulations on orders from Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe and Principal Secretary Susan Mochache, claims they both deny.

Frontline health workers have been among the 577 to die from coronavirus in Kenya since the first case was detected in March. They include a 32-year-old nurse who succumbed to the disease two weeks after giving birth to her child.

Medical staff dealing with coronavirus patients have complained about the quality of supplies, with some posting images online of defective personal protective equipment sent to emergency rooms across the country.

Doctors in public hospitals went on strike this month, not long after a television investigation alleged massive graft at KEMSA, sparking anti-corruption protests in several Kenyan cities. Police have recently used tear gas to disperse demonstrators in Nairobi, Nakuru and Mombasa.

The KEMSA scandal came after Kenyan investigators vowed a separate inquiry into the alleged theft of PPE supplies donated by Chinese billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

The allegations of graft and misappropriation surfaced as new infections of Covid-19 soared across Kenya, though numbers have dipped in recent weeks.

Government officials have expressed optimism about the downward trend but WHO Kenya urged caution in a note Monday, warning that overall testing and contact tracing had also declined over the same period.

The East African country had recorded 34,201 cases as of Monday.

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