September 25, 2023

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Kenya: It Wasn’t Me! Former Health PS Mburu Denies Involvement in Canceled Mosquito Net Tender Supply

3 min read

Nairobi — Former Health Principal Secretary Josephine Mburu is calling for justice and vindication over the Sh 3.7 billion Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) Malaria net tender scandal funded by the global fund saying she was wrongfully dismissed from the post.

The Former PS who received the news of her sacking through media alerts told the Senate Health Committee that when she joined the state Department of health the tender approval process had already commenced.

Appearing before Senator Jackson Mandago led committee that she was surprised when she was fired as KEMSA is not under the State Department she led but under medical services which was under Principal Secretary Peter Tum, now in the Sports ministry as PS.

“I was not involved in the tendering process. I am not the AIE holder or the accounting officer. KEMSA doesn’t fall under the docket, its was under Principal Secretary Tum. I was only involved because I was the end user,” Mburu said.

The Former PS found herself embroiled in the mosquito net scandal over a letter she wrote on February 21,2023, to the Kenya Equipment Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) seeking clarification on what she cited as omissions on the tender’s specification.

Mburu told senators that she was advised by Head of the Malaria Unit Dr Omar Ahmeddisen that KEMSA in advertising the tender missed out on the specification of the net insecticide.

“I wanted Kemsa to look at the error and rectify. I did not ask for tender cancellation as my involvement ended with the letter,” she said.

She elaborated that she was not involved in the tendering process as the tendering process had been closed when she assumed office.

The Ex-PS her link to the tender technical committee were two individuals she forwarded to brief her on the progress of the malaria program.

The Director of Medical Services Andrew Mulwa and Malaria Programme head Omar Ahmeddin had already nominated individuals to sit on the evaluation and technical committees for the tender.

Further, that all the correspondence over the tendering process were sent to PS Tum as he was the head of Kenya Coordinating Mechanism for Global Fund with the international organization.

“I was not involved in the tendering process because Kema was under Mr Tum. Everything was beyond me,” said Dr Mburu.

Mburu who sought justice over the matter said she is yet to be told why she was fired with the only communication sent to her being a subsequent letter from Head of Public Service Felix Koskei communicating her sacking.

“I also still ask myself why I was fired. I was caught unawares by the sacking. It was a shock. I have been a career civil servant for 34 years with no case against me,” said Mburu.

“I would like the truth to come out. Although I will not challenge the President, I will look for fair administrative justice. I would like to know what he was told to warrant my firing,” she added.

The tiff between PS Mburu and PS Tum emerged when an executive order reduced the 13 functions to seven with the functions taken to the medical services department.

Soon after she was appointed, Kemsa and NHIF were all under her docket but weeks after they were transferred.

“I was only left with TB and Malaria programmes with the other five functions under professional standards. Even though I was in charge of TB and Malaria programmes, procurement of commodities was being done by Kemsa and I was only copied the letters,” Mburu said.

By Capital FM.

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