Former EACC boss summoned over links with KEMSA’s syndicate

Feb, 18th 2021 – Former Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) boss Halakhe Waqo has been summoned by Parliament to explain his links with a company that was awarded a Sh 347 million State contract for Covid-19 emergency equipment despite its limited financial capacity and no experience in the medical supply.

Wago stood as the bondsman for Assure Commercial Services Limited in the deal which involved the supply of 50,000 boxes of KN-95 face masks each containing 10 packs to KEMSA at sh690 each.

Though he is not listed as a shareholder or a director of Assure Commercial Services, he was a signatory of the firm’s transaction account at First Community Bank.

The National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee (PIC) now wants Mr. Waqo to explain his connection with the company as well as his role in helping it secure funding from First Community Bank instead of KCB, its regular bank.

The MP for Kaloleni, Paul Katana said, “We want Mr Waqo summoned to appear before this committee. We want to know how he was a signatory to an account of a company that he is not a shareholder.”

PIC chairman Abdulswamad Nassir said says that Mr. Waqo together with the firm’s current and past directors will be summoned to shed light on the transactions. The current directors of Assure Commercial Services listed are Zubeda Nyamlondo Ngobi and Pharnice Adhigo Onsoti. Dorothy Undwa Omogi and Stanley Kithia Rimbere exited their directorships in June.

When Ms. Ngobi appeared before the committee, Mr. Nassir told her, “Your company was used by some influential people to get this procurement. You can’t walk to Kemsa, get a commitment letter to supply goods worth Sh347 million when you had not supplied any product to government.”

She however said that she was prequalified as a supplier of furniture and fittings and not Pharmaceutical products. She said, “We have never done business with government. We were registered as a supplier at Kemsa and Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) in 2017 but we had never done businesses with them.”

She says that after the Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced a shortage of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), the company saw an opportunity to supply the items.

She said, “I simply walked into the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) and went to procurement office and told them I could supply KN-95 masks. I went and saw Mr. Charles Juma, the head of procurement. Mr. Juma asked me if I am able to supply and I said yes. He then asked me to bring a sample.”

She adds that she appearedthe next day with a sample which KEMSA agreed to.

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