Kenya: Inside Anti-Corruption Detectives' 7-Hour Siege at Kemsa

(file photo).
10 September 2020

Anti-corruption detectives Wednesday raided the offices of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) and spent close to seven hours combing the place for clues that could help unravel the Covid-19 supplies scandal.

The move by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) sleuths came after Kemsa failed to submit details of people who won the controversial Covid-19 tenders and pocketed billions of taxpayers' money.

During the siege at the Kemsa offices on Commercial Street in Nairobi, no movement of staff or visitors in and out of the premises was allowed.

As soon as the investigators got into the building at 7am, Gate C, which is normally used by the staff, was barricaded.

Entrance taken over

The main entrance was taken over by three security officers who did not allow anyone into the building.

The officers are said to have camped at acting CEO Edward Njoroge Njuguna's office, where they kept on requesting for documents and inspecting them one by one for details of the companies that profited from the outbreak of Covid-19.

And at exactly 1.20pm, in the company of Mr Njuguna, the officers left in a motorcade of two land cruisers and a van that carried electronic data, computers and documents that will assist in their ongoing investigations.

It was, however, not clear why the investigators had to conduct a raid at the drug supplier's offices a month after top executives recorded statements over the financial scandal that is unfolding at the agency.

Dished out tenders

Over the past few days, it has emerged that officials dished out tenders to mysterious entities under the cover of the Covid-19 pandemic, putting the lives of ordinary Kenyans at risk.

Wednesday's siege came a day after the suspended CEO, Mr Jonah Mwangi, Kemsa chairman Kembi Githura and at least three board members were grilled at the commission's headquarters in Nairobi for over seven hours on the procurement of drugs in the war against the pandemic.

The commission has only a week left to make a preliminary report on the Kemsa saga. Parliament, on the other hand, is conducting a parallel investigation into the issue.

Last week, experts from the Auditor-General's office camped at Kemsa offices conducting an audit.

The agencies involved in the probe are racing against time as the 21-day ultimatum given by the Head of State two weeks ago to get to the root of the scandal is fast elapsing.

Kemsa has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons after it was discovered that billions of shillings meant for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic had been embezzled.

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